Lake O’s High Water Levels

Hi folks, do you live in southern Ontario in close vicinity to Lake Ontario and or the Saint Lawrence River? If so then you have probably been effected by the rising water levels of our water ways in one form or another.

If you follow my blog or any of my social media platforms then you are probably aware that I basically live on the water lol, (at least that is what my wife tells people). If I’m not working on a boat I am spending time on our personal boat our out fishing with friends and or family. Most of my water activities are spent on the eastern end of Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence River system.

Back in 2017 Lake Ontario, and the St Lawrence, saw some of the highest water levels it has ever witnessed on record. The levels reached a staggering 83cm above the average water level for this time of year.

Now just 2 years later and we are currently sitting at 76cm above the average for this time of year, (or for those of you that know what I’m talking about lol, 1.632 Meters above Chart Datum as of 16:00hrs this afternoon), and it is still rising. We are not expecting the levels to stabilize over the coming weeks and in other articles I’ve read, predictions are that we will see at least another 10cm to 12cm before levels begin to level off and start to receed.

It is expected that once again we will see record breaking water levels due to the excessive water flow comming over Niagara Falls from Lake Erie. Along with some very rainy weather we’ve had this spring. Niagara Falls let’s in %83 to %85 of the inflow to lake Ontario the remainder is from the tributaries leading to the lake.

Niagara Falls (picture credit to http://www.niagaraparks.com )

In 2017 the levels across lake Ontario and the St Lawrence river decimated some waterfront properties and washed away shorelines right across the southern part of the province.

Toronto 2017 water levels

Fish habitat was disturbed, fish were found in water treatment facilities and in some cases were found swimming along flooded streets and public parks that had been submerged. The water levels this year are going to get even higher.

People have been stating to me that they don’t understand why the province won’t open the dams along the St Lawrence so that Lake Ontario will settle down a bit? Well the best answer that I have seen is as follows

– The great lakes basin, the Ottawa river, and the St Lawrence River, all merge in Montreal Harbor. The levels in Montreal have already exceeded the record water levels, set in 2017. For every 1 inch that the Iroquois, and Massena Dams allow lake Ontario to drain, it will increase the water levels in Montreal, (and further down the St Lawrence river) by 11 inches. Montreal and further down river are already in some major flooding problems of their own so we simply cannot allow any more flow out of the lake than what we are already letting loose.

Iroquois dam 2018

I know around my home territory, in the Quinte region, businesses and properties are in desperate need for the levels to drop. However, I fear the increase in levels will be getting quite a bit worse before it gets better

I know at work, the levels are taking its toll on the locals, as even the slightest east wind now can affect the Glenora Ferry service. People in the area depend on this service to get them to and from work, taking them from the island to the mainland and back again. Businesses in the area depend on the ferry to allow their clients to be able to get to their locations, especially this time of year. if the ferry has to shut Down for any length of time, it can be devastating.

Glenora Ferry service leaving Adolphus Town

Businesses close to the water in the area are getting flooded out. The Picton Harbour Inn, (in Picton), have seen their docks starting to go under water, as well as their parking lot area has just started to get its first sign of flooding. The INN has placed water barrels along the docks in an attempt to hold the docks down and not RIP them out of place. So far this tactic has worked but if the water raises much more I’m afraid it may not be enough.

Picton Harbor Inn Docks (photo credit to Picton Harbor Inn Facebook page ) ,http://www.pictonharbourinn.com/

All the marinas and Yaught clubs in the Picton area are fighting to keep their docks afloat and their boaters from leaving.

Boaters are not putting their boats in the water yet due to the levels, potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars worth of expected income to these marinas for this time of year, not to mention possibly costing tens of thousands in repairs to equipment and the docks themselves. This is most likely indicative of all the areas that line the shores of Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence river throughout the province.

River Front Pub ( Napanee)
Public boat launch on Haybay ( Bay Of Quinte )

Last week I did put my boat in the water and it was quite the adventure to say the least (link to blog https://oldsaltydog.blog/2019/05/20/the-inaugural-voyage-part-2/ ) however what I noticed was all the debris in the lake, from trees, and garbage to lumber and even an overturned row boat that someone probably had on shore ready to use this summer floating down stream. I mean sure there is usually some branches/ tree stumps, and things like that during the spring time, but there has been an unusual amount of other debris this year as well.

I hope for everyone affected by the water levels this year that it all turns out ok in the end, if you are putting a boat in the water soon, please take extra care and look out for that debris that can really put a damper in your day.

Also let me know in the comment section what you think of my blog.

Cheers

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