Users Share Their
with the Public Interest Advisory Group
The Public Interest Advisory Group (PIAG) has been
very active in Year 1 of the Study. The PIAG developed
a presentation designed to explain the complexity
of the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system and
the various user interests and needs that must be
considered in reviewing the Order and in the development
of a new regulation plan. The presentation was formally
shown at 3 round-table sessions and public meetings
in Clayton, NY, Rochester, NY and Burlington, ON between
August and November of 2001. In addition, PIAG members
have shown the presentation to close to 24 different
user and interest groups, such as the International
Water Levels Coalition, the Ontario Dune Coalition
and the Renshaw Beach Association.
Public Interest Advisory Group Member workshop
The PIAG has also received a number of completed surveys
from those concerned with water levels in Lake Ontario
and the St. Lawrence River. A detailed summary of
these concerns, as well as concerns raised during
the PIAG's public meetings will be made available
on the Study's website. Copies of the survey and the
PIAG's presentation are also available for download.
The PIAG committee is currently planning its 2002
public meeting schedule and finalizing their Year
Technical Work Groups Make
by Ed Eryuzlu and Tony Eberhardt, Study Co-Managers
Last autumn in Montreal, Quebec, Co-Directors Dr.
Eugene Stakhiv and Doug Cuthbert presented the International
Joint Commission (IJC) with an update of the Study
Team's recent activities. The Study Team has made
great progress with the support of the Public Interest
Advisory Group initiatives and has moved ahead with
the following studies identified by the Technical Work Groups.
Coastal Zone TWG is paying particular attention
to erosion and flood processes. They held a modelling
strategies workshop in August 2001 where presentations
were made by several consultants and researchers
on the application of models to evaluate the impacts
of water levels on the shores of Lake Ontario and
the St. Lawrence River. The TWG has also identified
the need for digital orthoimagery (see glossary
on page 6) for their priority study areas, which
will then be used to identify existing locations
of the top edge and bottom of bluffs, identify building
locations, identify and evaluate existing shore
protection, and display future bluff locations.
Orthophoto: Shoreline form the City of Kingston
Commercial Navigation TWG is collecting data
related to commercial shipping operations on Lake
Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. With the aid of
a third party contractor, they are gathering and analyzing
commercial traffic data in the St. Lawrence River
from Montreal downstream. Scheduled for completion
this summer, is a report documenting the state of
the shipping industry. The report will be presented
to the Study Board for consideration and then made
available on the Study's website.
Common Data Needs TWG has made significant
progress. They are co-ordinating aerial photography
and other imagery requirements, as well as developing
both a short and long-term Geographic Information
System (GIS) strategy, to facilitate other study activities.
The Group has collected topographic and bathymetric
data for study priority areas. Maps detailing these
study areas are now posted.
Other completed work includes the collection of topographic
laser radar (LIDAR) data for parts of the U.S.
Lake Ontario shoreline. Bathymetric LIDAR collection
using the Scanning Hydrographic Operational Airborne
Lidar Survey (SHOALS) system was carried out for
priority zones on both the U.S. and Canadian shores
of Lake Ontario. The Canadian Hydrographic Service
(CHS) joined in on this effort to test SHOALS data
collection on the St. Lawrence River. Topographic
LIDAR collection along the lower St. Lawrence River
took place in the fall. In turn, all of this data
will be used to develop digital elevation models
(DEMs), for modelling impacts of different water level
scenarios. Lastly, the TWG is developing an information
management strategy for issues related to the use,
management and distribution of geo-spatial and other
data collected throughout the study.
Environmental TWG has participated in various
seminars and workshops, and conducted an extensive
planning process in Year 1. Their activities to the
end of March 2002 will focus on the study and mapping
of wetland vegetation, faunal studies to identify
habitat in coastal waters that are significant to
fish and bird communities and lastly, modelling and
data integration. Each of these activities will provide
a portion of information that is required to make
recommendations about the regulation scenarios that
best meet the ecological requirements of the system.
Environmental Technical Working Group
collects data for wetland vegetation study
Hydroelectric Power Generation TWG expects
to provide a description of the physical characteristics
of power generation equipment and the operational
constraints related to power production optimization,
dam and riparian safety and the environment. They
are also developing a report on the state of the industry,
which will be completed for the summer of 2002.
Hydrologic and Hydraulic Modelling TWG is updating
the hydrologic models that will be used by all TWGs
to evaluate historic water level data and climate
change conditions. To help co-ordinate activities
with other TWGs and foster communication, the TWG
has attended numerous meetings and is participating
in the work of the Plan Formulation and Evaluation
Technical Work Group.
Recreational Boating and Tourism TWG is performing
an inventory of marinas on Lake Ontario and the St.
Lawrence River, which will include physical data collection,
for example of water depths. They are also developing
a marina physical impact survey and evaluating preliminary
data on the socio-economic valuation of the marina
industry, in addition to developing a regional impact
Water Uses TWG has issued a contract to conduct
a physical inventory and assessment of public and
private water supply intakes along the Lake Ontario
and St. Lawrence River shorelines.
and Evaluation Group Moves Ahead
by Bill Werwick,
A new technical working group was created in July
2001 at a Study Board meeting in Buffalo, New York.
This new Group will work with the Study Team to
develop the tools and procedures to provide information
needed to determine whether to keep or change the
current regulation plan for Lake Ontario outflows.
The Plan Formulation and Evaluation Group will integrate
all work done in the Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence
River Study. Considering the volume of data and
interests that need to be organized and evaluated,
the group has organized themselves into 3 additional
sub-groups. At the center is the four-member Plan
Formulation Group consisting of David Fay, Canadian
Lead for the Hydrology and Hydraulic Modeling TWG,
Tony Eberhardt, U.S. Study Co-Manager, André
Carpentier, Study Board Member and Bill Werick,
U.S. Lead for the Plan Formulation and Evaluation
Group. This team will have to figure out how to
convert broad policy goals such as whether or not
to reduce or increase the variability of Lake Ontario
levels into new water level regulation plan rules.
They will also be charged with making the plan formulation
process widely accessible so others can test different
water level regulation scenarios.
Next, a 10-member Planning Group was formed and
includes the four formulation group members plus
Study Co-Directors, Gene Stakhiv and Doug Cuthbert,
along with Pete Loucks, and Steve Renzetti, Study
Board Members and Ed Eryuzlu, Canadian Study Co-manager
and Wendy Leger, Canadian Lead of the Common Data
Needs TWG. This group will develop a plan evaluation,
rating and ranking method and integrate that with
the plan formulation work. Lastly, the Plan Formulation
and Evaluation Group consists of the ten members
of the planning group, the entire Study Board, a
representative from each of the TWGs, and the Public
Interest Advisory Group. This group will integrate
individual studies together and ensure they support
the goals outlined in the Plan of Study for Criteria
Review in the Orders of Approval for Regulation
of Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Levels and Flows.
Pete Loucks of Cornell University designed the architecture
that was used by Bill Werwick to develop a shared
vision planning model, to help illustrate possible
relationships between goals, objectives, and plan
evaluation. Guidelines were sent to each of the
TWGs to help them develop the linkages between their
work and the planner's work. They were asked to
list the problems and the opportunities associated
with regulation of Lake Ontario outflows, develop
specific geographic planning objectives for regulation,
suggest metrics to gauge the performance of regulation
plans in meeting those objectives, and then describe
how their work will develop the data required to
measure the performance of different regulation
Metrics that will be evaluated by the Plan Formulation
and Evaluation Group include performance indicators
and hydrologic attributes. Performance indicators
are direct measures of progress towards an objective,
for example, economic benefits. Hydrologic attributes
are statistics on lake levels and stream flows,
such as the percentage of time Lake Ontario is above
a certain elevation. By the end of March 2002, the
Plan Formulation and Evaluation Group will attempt
to construct the mathematical linkage between the
hydrologic attributes and the Performance Indicators.
Even with the best plan evaluation metrics, the
group must complete one more step to fulfill the
goal of the regulation study. They must explain
the reasons why they will ultimately prefer one
plan over another. What happens when results are
mixed? What are the most important criteria? Considering
the complexity of the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence
River System and the requirements of it's users,
these questions will not be easily answered. The
group will develop a draft set of Decision Factors
in time for their first presentation workshop in
the spring of 2002. The workshop will be the first
meeting where all information will be put together
to see where the Study is, how much is left to do
and most importantly, recognize the limitations
of what can realistically be done.
Study's 2001 Public Meeting Identifies
The Study Team's public meeting was held on October
18, 2001 in Montreal, Quebec, in association with
the International Joint Commission's Biennial Public
Forum on Water Quality. The meeting drew an attendance
of just over 100 people, including Study Team members,
IJC commissioners and staff, conference attendees
and local residents.
Representatives of organizations such as the Stratégies
Saint-Laurent, Amis de la vallée du Saint-Laurent,
pour le saumon atlantique STOP (Montreal) and the
City of Montreal, each took an opportunity to identify
for the panel, an area of concern regarding water
levels in the St. Lawrence River. One representative
wanted to know how this Study would measure environmental
concerns, especially when other areas of interest
like hydroelectric power, can be measured using
a cost benefit approach. This is a type of measurement
that the Plan Formulation and Evaluation Technical
Work Group will be responsible for identifying.
Another concern raised was whether the Study is
considering the migration of non-native fish into
the St. Lawrence River, and eventually into the
tributaries of Quebec. Currently, the Environmental
TWG is developing a list of priority species,
to identify the types of fish and birds most affected
by water level and flow fluctuations in Lake Ontario
and the St. Lawrence River.
Many questions were asked, issues identified and
ideas shared during the two-hour meeting. The presentation
and a complete transcript of the meeting are available
in the Reports
section on the Study website.
The Study Team is in the process of scheduling the
next Annual Public Meeting, likely to be held in
the United States. Be sure to visit the Study's
website regularly for public meeting announcements.
Study Team Participates in 2001
Lake Ontario Basin Forum
by Frank Sciremammano, Board Member
This past October, Study Board Member Frank Sciremammano,
and Environment Technical Working Group U.S. Lead,
Mark Bain presented an overview of the Study at the
10th Annual Sustainable Watersheds Conference
in Auburn, NY. The 2001 Lake Ontario Basin Forum was
hosted by the Finger Lakes - Lake Ontario Watershed
Protection Alliance (FL-LOWPA), a consortium of 25
New York State counties in the Lake Ontario Basin.
The conference was organized to share information
on the status of Lake Ontario's ecosystem, related
efforts to address water quality issues, priorities
and approaches for making local programs count more
toward regional watershed sustainability, and complement
broader Great Lakes initiatives.
As part of the forum, Drs. Sciremammano and Bain organized
a session entitled Managing Lake Ontario Water
Levels: User Needs, Future Withdrawals, Ecological
Impacts and Considerations for the Basin.
Dr. Sciremammano's presentation provided an overview
of the current Lake Ontario water level management
as well as the organization and progress of the Criteria
Review Study. His talk included background on Great
Lakes hydrology and water level fluctuations, the
role of the International Joint Commission and the
St. Lawrence River Board of Control in managing the
system and a description of the various interests
affected by the water levels and flows. This was followed
by an introduction to the history, need and creation
of the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River
Dr. Bain followed with a more detailed
look at the wide range of environmental effects attributed
to water level and flow variations currently being
considered by the Environmental Technical Working
Group. He described the numerous habitats present
in the system, the environmental objectives established
by the group, the evaluation methodology being utilized
in the study, and some of the environmental performance
indicators under consideration. Dr. Bain then outlined
their Year 1 Work Plan and specific studies underway.
The Study Team thanks the alliance for
the invitation to participate in the conference. For
more information visit http://www.fllowpa.org or contact
Betsy Landre at (315) 536-7488.
U.S. Study Funding is Approved
The study has received $3 million of U.S. funding
for fiscal year 2002. The funds are part of the IJC's
U.S. Section budget under the Commerce, Justice State
Department Appropriation (PL 107-77), which was signed
by President Bush on November 28, 2001.
Study Board Annual Public Meeting
The Study team has proposed to hold their annual public
meeting on September 19, 2002. The meeting
location and time will be made available in the calendar
After serving as US Environmental Technical Work Group
Lead for most of 2001, Mark Bain of the New
York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at
Cornell University resigned his position with the
Study. The Study Team thanks Dr. Bain for his contributions
to the study and wishes him well with his Lake Ontario
study on ecosystem structure of bays and wetlands
under different hydrologic regimes.
The study welcomes Dr. Joseph F. Atkinson,
the new U.S. Lead for the Environmental Technical
Working Group and Director of the Great Lakes Program
at the State University of New York at Buffalo. You
can reach Dr. Atkinson for more information about
the Environmental TWG studies taking place in the
U.S., by e-mailing him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arleen K. Kreusch is now serving as the Public
Affairs Specialist for the U.S. section of the Study
Team. Working out the U.S. Secretariat Study office
in Buffalo, New York. Contact Arleen at: email@example.com.
Activities of Interest
If you know of any upcoming activities related to
water levels in Lake Ontario or the St. Lawrence River,
that we can highlight in future issues of Ripple Effects,
let us know.
Great Lakes Navigation System
by Wayne Schloop, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Detroit District
is nearing completion of a two-year study to review
the feasibility of improving commercial navigation
on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway navigation
system by making capital improvements.
The study, scheduled for completion in the summer
of 2002, will identify factors and trends that affect
the character of the existing Great Lakes/St. Lawrence
Seaway system, and project future trends and commodity
flows. The study will also report on characteristics
of the GLSS fleet, as well as existing infrastructure
(locks, channels and harbors) and what investments
may be required to sustain it into the future.
Information generated by the Great Lakes Navigation
System Review will be used by the International Lake
Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study's Commercial Navigation
TWG. Background data provided on the Great Lakes
system will be used in the TWG's evaluation process.
Useful data includes information on the systems connecting
channels (their maintained depths at Low Water
Datum), port and dock information (maintained
depths at docks, loading rates, unloading rates),
vessel operating characteristics (maximum vessel carrying
capacity, vessel draft at maximum carrying capacity,
tons per inch immersion factors, etc.), as well as
representative vessel operating costs.
For further information on the Great Lakes Navigation
System Review, contact Wayne Schloop by telephone
New York's North Coast Conference
by John Terninko,
Center for Environmental Information
On May 3, 2002, the Center for Environmental Information
will be hosting "New York's North Coast - A Troubled
Coastline" Conference, at the Burgundy Basin
in Pittsford, NY. The north coast of New York State
stretches for 300 miles through seven counties on
Lake Ontario's south shore, from the Niagara River
in the west to the St. Lawrence River in the east.
Despite significant water quality improvement in the
open waters of Lake Ontario over the last decade,
few coastal waters and embayments have shown measurable
recovery. The conference is intended to bring together
local, state, tribal, and federal stakeholders to
begin an on-going dialogue and an action framework
for resolving the coastal region's water quality problems.
Through development of an action framework, members
are striving to create a unified and coordinated regional
approach to restoration and remediation of the coastal
The conference program will alert the public to the
problems affecting the coastal waters and embayments;
define the social, ecological and economic importance
of the Lake Ontario shoreline and associated embayments
and watersheds; identify work in progress and opportunities
for constructive remedies; and create a regional action
framework for restoration of coastal waters and embayments.
For more information about the conference contact
the Center for Environmental Information by
mail: 55 St Paul Street, Rochester, NY 14604-1314;
by telephone: (585) 262-2870; by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or on the internet: www.rochesterenvironment.org.
Managing Shared Waters International
The Managing Shared Waters Conference - Towards Sustainable
Transboundary Coastal Ecosystems will convene from
the 24th to the 28th of June 2002 in Hamilton, ON.
The main objectives are to evaluate international
capacity, equip coastal communities, examine real-life
applications of transboundary coastal ocean management
through examples, and produce an outcome report with
recommendations and strategies to improve capacity
to manage sustainable transboundary coastal ecosystems.
For more information contact: Managing Shared Waters
by telephone: (416) 926-1907, or e-mail: email@example.com.
Visit their website at: www.pollutionprobe.org/managing.shared.waters/.
Glossary of Terms
BATHYMETRY - The measurement of water depth
at various places in a body of water.
DIGITAL ELEVATION MODEL (DEM) - A digital map
of elevation data.
DIGITAL ORTHOIMAGERY - A representation of
surface features in their true geometric map position.
Inaccuracies due to distortion, tilt, and ground relief
are eliminated, resulting in an image with a high
DIGITAL ORTHOPHOTO - A computer-generated image
of an aerial photograph in which image displacement
caused by terrain relief and camera tilts have been
removed. It combines the image characteristics of
photograph with the geometric qualities of a map.
GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM (GIS) - A system
that links spatial data to maps.
LIDAR - A device that is similar in operation
to radar but emits pulsed laser light instead of microwaves.
LOW WATER DATUM - The zero line that all harbors
are dredged from.
PRIORITY SPECIES - A species that is protected
by federal, state, or provincial laws.
SCANNING HYDROGRAPHIC OPERATIONAL AIRBORNE LIDAR
SURVEY (SHOALS) - A system that profiles under
water terrain and coastline topography.
TOPOGRAPHY - Natural land and man-made features
of a place or a region that are detailed on maps or
charts showing their relative positions and elevations.
If you are interested in sharing your concerns about
water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence
River, would like to get more information about the
study, or would like to participate in one of our
meetings, please contact the public affairs person
in your country.
Arleen K. Kreusch
Public Affairs Specialist
1776 Niagara Street
Buffalo, NY 14207
Tel: (716) 879-4438
Fax: (716) 879-4356
Public Information Officer
234 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, ON K1P 6K6
Tel: (613) 992-5727
Fax: (613) 995-9644
Arleen K. Kreusch
We would like to thank all those who contributed
to the second edition of Ripple Effects.