Shared Vision Model
Bill Werick and Wendy Leger,
The Shared Vision Model is a study model that will integrate the information
from each of the Technical Work Groups (TWGs). With this Model, various regulation
plans can be run through an evaluation process and the results can be compared
for different interests and locations. The Model, involving multi-objective, multi-stakeholder
evaluation procedures, has been presented to, and has been endorsed by, the Study
Board. The Shared Vision Model will use the relationships between performance
indicators identified by each of the TWGs. A performance indicator is some measure
of impact to an interest. For example, the Coastal TWG will use erosion damages
in terms of dollars.
record ideas generated from group sessions. The Study Board acted on the reports
the following day.
|Photo - Chris Stewart
All of the TWGs are working very hard to determine the most scientifically accurate
assessment of the relationships between different water levels and flows across
the Study area and over time to their chosen performance indicators. These relationships,
whether expressed in terms of a stage/damage curve or some other mathematical
formula, will go into the Shared Vision Model for the evaluation process. Regulation
alternatives considered in previous evaluations will be tested as an initial comparison.
Shared Vision planning procedures will assist with this comparison. They will
also help build alternatives with stakeholder groups. Procedures and indicators
will be enhanced and strengthened as the Study progresses.
The Plan Formulation and Evaluation Group is working closely with the Public
Interest Advisory Group and the other Technical Work Groups to develop the Model.
The Model is termed "Shared Vision" because each TWG helps build the section that
measures their assessment of impacts resulting from changes to regulation of outflows
from the Lake. Furthermore, all parties, including the Public Interest Advisory
Group liaisons, work to assure that it correctly models the movement of water
through the system.
This level of involvement and trust cannot be achieved with an off-the-shelf
"black box" model. A shared vision model must be built from scratch with the help
of each of the TWGs, and it must be easy to use so that all parties can develop
and evaluate their own ideas on managing the regulation of Lake Ontario outflows.
The Shared Vision Model will go through several stages of development. At each
stage the TWGs will evaluate alternative regulation plans and get another chance
to determine if their performance indicators are the best measures of their preferences.
We will continue to update you through this newsletter and our meetings as this
Model evolves. The Study Team plans on having a series of Public Interest Advisory
Group meetings with the public in 2004 to show you this Model and to present the
Study's progress. We hope these meetings will improve our recommendations to the
International Joint Commission in the final year of Study.
leads discussion about shoreline erosion issues.
|Photo - Chris Stewart|
Water Uses Technical Work Group
Norvel, Planning and Management Consultants, Ltd
Lake and river levels can affect a variety of socio-economic and environmental
factors, including the ways in which people use the lake or river. People rely
on lake or river water for a variety of purposes. Households use it to wash, cook
and clean, while businesses and industry rely on water for manufacturing, energy
and trade. As part of the Study, the Domestic, Industrial, and Municipal Water
Uses Technical Work Group is assessing how changes in water levels affect the
people and industries that depend on lake or river water. More specifically, the
Group is looking at how water levels influence the operation of critical municipal
and industrial water-supply infrastructure such as water treatment plant intakes,
wastewater discharge outlets, sewer and storm-water conveyances, and private residential
systems such as shore wells.
To accomplish its mission, the Water Uses Technical Work Group is conducting
several surveys of water and wastewater treatment facilities in areas that border
Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River in Canada and the United States. In addition,
the Group is researching the effects of water levels on shore wells and other
private residential systems in areas where city water is not available.
| Many towns and cities have water treatment plants that
draw water from the Lake and River from intakes that lie directly below the water
surface. Based on information collected, 43 intakes are operational in Ontario
and New York, and 29 have been identified in Quebec. Collectively, these facilities
provide water to more than 10 million people in the U.S. and Canada.
Along Lake Ontario in New York and Canada, Study data suggest that variations
within long-term averages on Lake Ontario do not have widespread adverse impacts
on the ability of municipal water-supply intakes to effectively draw water. Most
public intakes, including the largest that serve most of the people who rely on
lake water, are at depths and distances from shore that eliminate or greatly mitigate
problems with respect to water quantity. For example, in the U.S., two regional
water-supply systems account for roughly 90 percent of water withdrawn by municipal
intakes. Intakes at both facilities extend 6,600 feet (1980 metres) offshore and
lie in 40 to 48 feet (12 to 14.4 metres) of water. While most intakes are deep
and long enough to avoid problems, there are a few small facilities with intakes
that rest closer to shore in comparably shallow water, which makes them more susceptible
to problems that can be related to rising and falling water levels.
With respect to quality, algae was the most common problem reported by many
water treatment plant operators, regardless of intake depth. Taste and odor problems
associated with algae were reported by several water treatment facilities. Two
naturally occurring chemicals, geosmin and methylisoborneol (MIB), produced by
decaying blue-green algae and bacteria are the primary culprits. Research conducted
by the Ontario Water Works Research Consortium (OWWRC) shows that geosmin and
MIB occur primarily in depths up to about 100 feet (30 metres), and in general,
there is an inverse relationship between depth, temperature and concentrations
of geosmin and MIB. In addition, during surveys conducted by the Group some interviewees
noted that algae seem to be more of a problem for facilities where a large plateau
surrounds an intake and allows for a small temperature differential across the
lake or river bottom.
Taste and odor impacts vary in intensity each year; however, two notable and
extended events occurred late in the summers of 1998 and 1999. The levels of taste
and odor problems during these events were about ten times higher than historic
levels. While it is true that 1998 was a low-water year, it is unclear as to whether
Lake levels were a significant contributor. Studies by OWWRC, suggest that spring
warming may be critical. Water temperatures rose more quickly in the spring of
both 1998 and 1999 compared to 2000 and 2001, when levels of geosmin were substantially
lower. During the Group's survey, many interviewees agreed that algae problems
were not so much a function of water levels, but were more closely linked to seasonal
increases in temperature and possibly to long-term climate change. Most of the
large water utilities have installed activated carbon filters to trap geosmin
and MIB. According to OWWRC, several of the chief water utilities in Ontario have
invested upwards of $25 million to remove the noxious compounds.
Another type of alga that has caused problems is a periphyte known as Cladophora.
Floating mats of Cladophora can accumulate in warm, shallow waters and provide
an ideal habitat for blue-green algae and bacteria growth. In general, intakes
are far from shore and deep enough to avoid problems with Cladophora. However,
one small facility with a comparably shallow intake (16 feet or 11.8 metres) reported
that Cladophora had clogged intake screens on several occasions. According to
OWWRC, Cladophora experienced explosive growth in the 1960s and 1970s. Research
at that time showed that Lake Ontario was receiving an excess of phosphorus, which
contributes to abnormal growth of Cladophora. During survey activities, many utility
operators cited phosphorus run-off from urban and agricultural sources as a primary
contributor to high levels of Cladophora.
During the winter, alga die off and are not a problem, but cold weather brings
ice, which has been a concern for some utilities. In cold temperatures the water
surface freezes. When water levels are low, floating ice and slush can form near
intakes and clog screens that filter lake water before it enters the water treatment
plant. One facility along Lake Ontario in the U.S. reported that ice has clogged
its intakes on several occasions in the past. Serving about 7,000 people, the
facility is relatively small and has an intake with only 12 feet (3.6 metres)
of water above it when measured based on chart datum (International Great Lakes
Datum 1985). Several other facilities reported substantial problems with ice blockages
in the past, but installation of newer and deeper structures resolved the problem.
| As a general observation, water levels in Quebec are more
of a concern for operators of municipal water intakes, particularly downstream
of the Moses-Saunders Dam in the Montreal and Trois-Rivières area. Issues are
more complex relative to Lake Ontario because the St. Lawrence River is much shallower
in many places.
Water Outfall along Lake Ontario Shoreline
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Water Intake at Wilson Hill, NY during à low-water
Photo - Dalton Foster
Flow rates, which are affected by Lake Ontario outflows, can also affect conditions
near intake structures. For example, a facility operator at Pointe Claire reported
that low flows in the River increase treatment costs for algae. Another reported
problem associated with flow is the relationship between upstream discharges and
conditions near downstream intakes. Rates of flow can affect levels of wastewater
dilution that in turn, can impact water quality for downstream users. Large ships
passing through the St. Lawrence channel can also affect conditions near water
intakes. Efforts are currently underway to collect and analyze additional data
Many of the same towns and cities that use Lake Ontario as a source of water
also use it as a means to discharge treated sewage and wastewater from homes,
businesses and industries. Water is treated at wastewater treatment plants and
is discharged via outfalls in or near Lake Ontario or the St. Lawrence River.
Studies are currently underway to determine if variations in water elevation affect
the ability of businesses and cities to discharge wastewater into the Lake. For
example, high water levels may cause discharge systems to back up and flood, while
low water levels and flows could potentially reduce the assimilative capacity
of waters near outfalls.
Other stakeholders of interest to the Domestic, Industrial, and Municipal Water
Uses Technical Work Group are people who rely on private residential water systems.
Most households in Canada and the U.S. are connected to public water utilities.
However, for some, city water is not available. Water must be drawn directly from
hoses placed in the Lake or River or from wells and cisterns located along the
shoreline of Lake Ontario. Low water levels can cause problems for shore wells
and intake hoses. Efforts are also underway to assess how water levels affect
Public Interest Advisory Group Holds Meeting in Akwesasne
Stephanie Weiss, PIAG Member
On February 20, the Public Interest Advisory Group and some other Study Team
members met with ten members of Akwesasne to explain what the Study is about and
to listen to their concerns.
The community members indicated they would like the Study to consider the impacts
of water-level regulation on their fishing grounds. When water is held back upstream
on the St. Lawrence River to mitigate anticipated flooding of Montreal during
the Ottawa River freshet, it impacts tribal fishing. The fishing takes place above
the Moses-Saunders Dam since the fish below the dam are too contaminated. This
impacts the community members who are commercial fishermen. The Environmental
Technical Work Group will follow up with community fishermen to determine their
Ken Jock, Director of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Environment Division, asked,
"Why take special account of the Ottawa River flooding? What about other rivers
flooding into the St. Lawrence during the spring melt?" The Public Interest Advisory
Group explained the potential impact of the freshet on flooding Montreal. The
Ottawa River flooding is substantially greater than other rivers/tributaries flowing
into the St. Lawrence; and its freshet is the earliest of the flooding that occurs
during the spring thaw.
In turn, Chief Hilda Smoke indicated that many people living on the islands
are losing their beaches and other land due to erosion. "We will take your views
into account," said PIAG member Elaine Kennedy. "We will be interviewing community
members to get specific information. If there are similar problems related to
water-level regulation, we need to know about them."
Elaine Kennedy. "We will be interviewing community members to get specific
information. If there are similar problems related to water-level regulation,
we need to know about them."
The opinions expressed by the community members provided valuable information
that was relayed to the Study Team. The Public Interest Advisory Group will be
returning to meet in Akwesasne during the fourth year of the Study to present
the Study's draft recommendations and again ask for input.
We want to consider and include all interests and locations by holding
meetings throughout the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River basin during the Study.
Water Uses Group Needs Input
As you can see from the article on the previous page, the Domestic, Industrial,
and Municipal Water Uses Technical Work Group is studying the impacts of water
level fluctuations on water intakes, sanitary sewers, septic systems, and water
treatment facilities. This includes investigating the impacts of varying water
levels on near-shore wells along the Lake and River. The Group is gathering information
on the extent and severity of the impacts on near-shore wells for further evaluation.
If you have a shore well on Lake Ontario or the St. Lawrence River and are experiencing
problems related to levels, please contact the communication representative in
your country listed at the end of this newsletter to respond to these questions.
- If you are not connected to a public water system, do you use Lake Ontario or the St. Lawrence as a water
source via a shore well or lake intake lines?
- If you are not connected to public water and do use a shore well or intake lines, is this your only source of
water or are there other options available such as a spring, pond, or water deliveries from a water company?
- Please tell us about any problems that you have experienced using Lake Ontario or the St. Lawrence River as a
water source. Problems could include poor water quality or not enough water in your well. It is very important
to tell us the dates when problems occurred.
- If you did experience problems, what corrective action did you take and how much did it cost?
The Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence Study is
conducting an exhaustive examination of the
impacts of water levels on different stakeholder
groups. Of these, the commercial navigation
group has taken adaptive measures to compensate
for low levels.
Pride container ship is one of the most modern vessels to regularly drop anchor
in the Montreal Harbour. Designed specially to navigate the St. Lawrence, this
ship, which has a draft of 35 feet (10.7 metres), can transport 2,800 20-foot
(6-metre) containers (or the equivalent) given a water level of 38 feet (11.6 metres)
in the navigation channel.
|Photo - Montreal Harbour
The two main adaptive measures used by commercial navigation
to handle low levels are the following: the installation of
electronic water-level monitors and the design of ships that can
transport more merchandise without, at the same time, having a
"Several million dollars have been invested in these measures
to diminish the effects of low levels and to adapt commercial
navigation to the St. Lawrence River," says Michel Turgeon,
Director of Communications for the Administration of the
Montreal Harbour. "However, these measures only diminish the
effects; they don't eliminate them. They certainly don't remove
the necessity of good water-level management that takes into
account the needs of commercial navigation."
Ships have only rarely had to lighten their load due to low
water levels. Thirteen electronic monitors have been installed in
the channel between Montreal and Quebec City. These monitors
give, in real time, the water levels in the channel and allow for
the optimum loading of vessels. Data taken from these monitors
permit the development of mathematical models to better
predict levels, as predictability is very important. But whether
or not the water is high or low, ships must, at all times, respect
an underkeel clearance of approximately 35 inches (90 cm).
Although ships have rarely had to lighten loads, low levels can
cause problems for commercial navigation. Low levels can
prevent ocean transporters from using the full capacity of their
vessels at deep draft. The more that water levels are low, the
more that ships cannot navigate with a full load. In these
conditions, ocean transporters cannot attain desired economies
of scale to reduce their costs. "Diminishing the effects of low
levels on commercial navigation thus results in rendering ocean transporters more competitive and, in turn, the Montreal
Harbour, as well as all the Canadian and American exporters
and importers who use the harbour," adds Mr. Turgeon.
Harbour is an ideal entry-point to central Canada, the Midwest and the northeastern
United States. In the forefront, the Racine container terminal.
|Photo - Montreal Harbour
For ocean transporters and the active ports between Quebec
City and Montreal, the chart datum is the critical threshold or
minimum level. The acceptable water level would be at 12
inches (30 cm) above chart datum, and the comfort zone would
be at 24 inches (60 cm) above chart datum. "All of Montreal Harbour's users, for instance, are conscious
of the fact that we cannot always maintain acceptable or
comfortable water levels," says Mr. Turgeon. "The maritime
community of the St. Lawrence is asking that the chart datum
be considered the critical threshold and that situations of
extreme low levels be avoided." Extreme low levels are
problematic not only for commercial navigation, but also for
recreation, the environment and the procurement of potable
container terminal in the Montreal Harbour. The Montreal Harbour is a leader in
North-American container trade.
|Photo - Montreal Harbour
New Public Interest Advisory Group Member
Paul Finnegan has worked for the
Power Authority of the State of New
York since 1994, in the Office of
Governmental Affairs, as the State
Legislative Liaison. His recent tasks
included working to relicense the St.
Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power
Project at Massena, New York. Paul is a
native to the North Country. He was
born and raised in St. Lawrence County,
New Public Information Officer
Michelle Tracy is the new Public
Information Officer for the Study's
Canadian Section. She holds a Master's
degree in French literature and
communication theory. Previously, she
has worked as a project manager and
editor for the National Library of
Canada's Digital Library, as well as an
academic and literary translator for the
National Sciences and Engineering
Research Council and the Université du
Québec à Montréal. She has published a
chapbook of poems, Five Muses
(Mercutio Press, 2003).
New Technical Work Group Leads
Anjuna Langevin is the new Canadian
lead of the Commercial Navigation
Technical Work Group. Anjuna has
worked as a navigation officer on
commercial vessels transiting on the
Great Lakes and International waters.
She completed a mastership in Maritime
resources management at Université du
Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) where she
studied more particularly the interactions
between shipping and the environment.
After three years as a Fleet Operator for
Fednav International, she joined the
Shipping Federation team in 2002 as
Director, Navigation and Environment.
Syed Moin, Ph.D., P. Eng.,is the new Canadian lead for Hydrologic and
Hydraulic Technical Work Group. He is a water resources engineer for the Burlington
offices of the Boundary Waters Issues Division for the Meteorological Service
of Canada, Ontario Region, as a Senior Hydrologic Engineer. He also holds an adjunct
appointment at McMaster University where he teaches courses in hydrology, hydraulics
and design of water resources system. Prior to our current Study, Syed has provided
lead in an optimization study for the Great Lakes system and has directed hydraulic
analysis of the Great Lakes connecting channels.
John Osinski is the new U.S. lead for
the Hydroelectric Power Technical Work
Group. John has been employed by the
New York Power Authority since 1975,
and is currently Executive Director of
Regulatory Affairs in the Authority's
Public and Governmental Affairs
Department. John's involvement in
Great Lakes issues dates back to his
participation in the development of the
New York State 25-Year Plan for the
Great Lakes in the mid-80's. He participates
in the New York State Governor's
Great Lakes Basin Advisory Council and
was formerly a member of the Study's
Public Interest Advisory Group. John
has MS and BS degrees from the State
University of New York, College of
Environmental Science and Forestry.
The following participants were
officially added to the Study during the
March meetings in Ottawa, Ontario.
Roger Barlow is a new member of the
Information Management Technical
Work Group. He has been with the U.S.
Geological Survey (USGS) National
Mapping Program for better than 25
years. Roger's role with USGS is as a
Program Coordinator, seeking opportunities
to link USGS mapping or other
discipline requirements with State and
other Federal activities. Roger is
currently involved with the following
states: New York, Pennsylvania, New
Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and the
District of Columbia.
Ed Capone is a new member of the
Hydrology and Hydraulic Modeling
Technical Work Group. Ed is a Senior
Hydrologist for the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) Northeast River Forecast
Center. Ed has worked for NOAA for
ten years; prior to that he worked in the
private sector for twenty years as
civil/hydraulic/hydrologic engineer. Ed
has a Bachelor of Science Degree in
Civil Engineering from Northeastern
University and numerous meteorology
courses. Ed's NOAA work responsibilities
include precipitation forecasting
using the applicable National Weather
Service tools and hydrologic/hydraulic
modeling of the Northeast River
Forecast Center (NERFC) watersheds in
order to complete daily river forecasts.
Paul King-Fisher is a member of the
Plan Formulation and Evaluation Group.
He is the Water Valuation and Business
Advisor in the Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources'Waterpower Project
in Peterborough, Ontario. He is responsible
for providing direction on how
social and economic values contribute to
decision-making in the preparation of
water management plans for waterpower
facilities in the province. Paul brings his
expertise in natural resources management,
environmental economics and
multi-criteria decision-making to the
David Klein is a new member of the
Coastal Processes and Environmental
Technical Work Groups. David is
currently a Senior Field Representative
for the Nature Conservancy, focusing on
conservation of Lake Ontario's biodiversity,
and coordinating a science council
of Nature Conservancy staff in New
York. He served as Director of The
Nature Conservancy's Central and
Western New York Chapter for twelve
years. David has a Ph.D. in physical
Deborah Lee, P.E., P.H., is a new member of the Plan Formulation and
Evaluation Group. She is also working on the Study Team as a member of the Hydrology
and Hydraulic Modeling Technical Work Group. Deborah is a Hydraulic Engineer with
the Water Management Team of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, with 15 years of professional experience in water resources
research and management.
Mark Lorie is a part-time
Environmental Engineer in the Planning
and Policy Studies Division of the
Institute for Water Resources, where he
is working with the Plan Formulation
and Evaluation Group for the Study. He
is a doctoral candidate in the Department
of Geography and Environmental
Engineering at Johns Hopkins
University. Mark earned a Masters in
Environmental Management and
Economics from Johns Hopkins in May
Paul MacLatchy, P.Eng., is a new member of the Industrial, Municipal
and Domestic Water Uses Technical Work Group. He is currently Manager - Environment
Division for the City of Kingston. He has spent four years working on a diverse
array of environmental projects for the City of Kingston, and nine years working
as a consultant for industry in the fields of environmental monitoring and mine
closure and reclamation.
André Plante, M.Sc., Ing., and P.Eng., is a member of the Information
Management and Plan Formulation and
Evaluation Technical Work Groups. He
works for the hydrology section of the
Meteorological Service of Canada,
Quebec region. His responsibilities lie at
the intersection of hydrology, information
management and computer
modeling. He has contributed to
different projects and committees
through the development architectures
for information management systems,
work technique systems, and systems of
software tools adapted to specific needs
that have been impossible to address
using traditional methods.
Mike Robertson is a member of the
Information Management Technical
Work Group. Mike spent twelve years as
a forest management technician working
for Ontario's Ministry of Natural
Resources (MNR) Conservation
Authorities and as a private consultant.
He attended the Cooperative MNR and
Sir Sandford Fleming College
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Applications Specialist Program in 1991
and has been involved in a variety of
GIS activities. Mike has worked as a
District GIS Officer, Regional GIS
Support and a Senior Data Analyst over
the past ten years. As a Policy Analyst in
the Land Information Ontario Project he
has been responsible for the establishment
of GIS partnership projects across
the province and the Ontario Geospatial
We sincerely wish to thank the following
participants for all of the time and hard
work that they provided to the Study. We
Our next issue will include a review of
the progress made by the Recreational
Boating and Tourism, and Coastal
Processes Technical Work Groups.
PIAG Speakers Bureau
|The Public Interest Advisory Group membership
would like to meet with you. A representative in your area can give a presentation
about the Study to your group. Please contact the communications staff listed
below to request a presentation.
- United States
- Dr Dan Barletta - Rochester, NY
- Paul Finnegan - Albany, NY
- Thomas McAuslan - Oswego, NY
- Tony McKenna - West Amherst, NY
- Jon Montan - Canton, NY
- Henry Stewart - Rochester, NY
- Max Streibel - Rochester, NY
- Scott Tripoli - Mannsville, NY
- Stephanie Weiss - Clayton, NY
- Marcel Lussier - Brossard, QC
- Larry Field - Downsview, ON
- Michel Gagné - Montreal, QC
- John Hall - Burlington, ON
- Marc Hudon - Trois-Rivières, QC
- Elaine Kennedy - St. Andrews W, ON
- Anjuna Langevin - Montreal, QC
- Sandra Lawn - Prescott, ON
- Michel Turgeon - Montreal, QC
- Paul Webb - North Augusta, ON
- Al Will - Hamilton, ON
Please share this newsletter with a friend. If someone would like to be
added to our mailing list to receive future editions of this newsletter, please
ask them to contact us.
If you are interested in sharing your concerns about water levels in Lake Ontario
and the St. Lawrence River, would like to receive more information about the Study,
or would like to participate in one of our meetings, please contact the communication
representative in your country.
Arleen K. Kreusch
1776 Niagara Street
Buffalo, NY 14207
Tel: (716) 879-4438
Fax: (716) 879-4356
Public Information Officer
234 Laurier Avenue West
ON K1P 6K6
Tel: (613) 992-5727
Fax: (613) 995-9644