UNITED STATES & CANADA
INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION
PUBLIC INTEREST ADVISORY GROUP
In the Matter of:
INTERNATIONAL LAKE ONTARIO/
ST. LAWRENCE RIVER STUDY
September 15, 2004
Transcript of Public Meeting held in the above matter held at 6482 Catchpole Shore Road, North Rose, N.Y., beginning at 7:00 p.m. on September 15, 2004, pursuant to Notice. Connected via telephonic conference to Cornwall, Ontario, Canada.
MIKE SULLIVAN - Mayor of Sodus Point
LINDA EDENGER - Board Member, SOS
MICHELLE WONDERLICK (sic) - Cayuga County Planning OfficJIM HOFFMAN - Town of Williamson Supervisor
DAVE SCUTER - Water Quality and Coordinating committee member
CHUCK FREDERICK - Town of Huron Supervisor
HENRY STEWART - PIAG Member
MAX STREIBEL - PIAG Member, Facilitator, North Rose, N.Y.
MARCEL LUSSIER - PIAG Co-Chair, Facilitator, Cornwall, Ontario
DAN BARLETTA - PIAG U.S. Co-Chair
BILL WERICK - PFEG, U.S.
ALLEN OLSON - U.S IJC Commissioner
EUGENE STAKHIV - U.S. Co-Director
FRANK SCIREMAMMANO - Control Board Member
RUSS TROWBRIDGE - IJC Liason
DOUG CUTHBERT - PIAG Member, Canadian Co-Chair
DOUG WILCOX - PIAG Member
ARLEEN KREUSCH - Public Relations
AARON SMITH - Public Relations Assistant
Associated Reporting Service
Post Office Box 674
229 West Genesee Street
Buffalo, New York 14201-0674
Proceedings recorded by electronic sound recording, transcript produced by transcription service.
Greeting by Linda Edenger, SOS Board of Directors Member
Greeting by Chuck Frederick, Town of Huron Supervisor
Explanation of how the meeting will proceed by Henry Stewart
Power Point Presentation By Dan Barletta, D.D.S.
Question and comment session begins
Closing Comments by Henry Stewart
P R O C E E D I N G
MS. EDENGER: I'm Linda Edenger. I'm on the Board of Directors for SOS, and we helped to coordinate this meeting and we just want to welcome you all here for this presentation discussion about the water levels. It directly affects all our beautiful bays close by, the great Sodus Bay, East Bay, Port Bay, Little Sodus Bay. So, I know we're all concerned about water levels. And I want you all to be encouraged to participate as this is what this is all about. And they will I'm sure tell you the same thing again.
And I'd like to recognize some of the officials that are here from our local government and organizations. Mike Sullivan. He is Mayor of Sodus Point.
MS. EDENGER: Glad to have him with us. Jim Hoffman.
MS. EDENGER: The town supervisor of Williamson, nearby. Dave Scuter.
MS. EDENGER: He is the chairman of a fairly newly formed group, Water Quality and Coordinating committee, which is very important with our bodies of water around here.
And then also I'd like to introduce Chuck Frederick. He's the Town of Huron
MS. EDENGER: He's the supervisor of the Town of Huron. He's been a life long resident of Wayne County, 26 years of that in Huron, which is this town we're in now, 17 years as a business owner, so he has both residential and commercial interests in the water. And he'd like to talk to you a little bit about what Huron is interested in playing a part of in water quality and water levels.
Chuck, you want to know? I'll pass the mike on.
MR. FREDERICK: Good evening. Thank you for coming. As Linda said, my name is Chuck Frederick. I've been the supervisor for the Town of Huron since January of this year, it's a relatively new position for me.
I was asked just to give a welcome, and I would like welcome you all to the Town of Huron not the Town of North Rose, as indicated on some of the information packets that went out. There's a distinction. The town of Rose is south of here, just south of 104. And the Town of Huron actually encompasses about 35 square miles in Wayne County of which we represent quite a bit of the waterfront on Sodus Bay.
We take the east side of Sodus Bay right through to the Crescent Beach area, and according to Dave Scuter, about seven miles of the lakefront. We also have East Bay and West Port Bay within our jurisdiction. So as Linda mentioned, we do have an interest in the waterfront and in the water quality in our area.
And there's a number of commercial businesses, marinas, restaurants that depend on traffic from the water, and also a lot of businesses in our area that depend on people that come near the water to recreate and live on. So, it's an important thing for all of us.
I've had little impact on that up to this point in time, I must say. People like Dave Scuter, Clay Bishop, some of the other supervisors in town have done a much better job. Mike Sullivan has been involved in this process for a number of years, not only from a lake level but also to try and protect the waterfront areas in many different ways, one of which, many people are aware of docks and moorings which the Town of Huron is taking into consideration right now, subject to law which the Town of Huron has done to try and protect the water. So we all are very interested.
Our town has evolved to a point where it's been agricultural primarily, and the waterfront was a secondary area for us. But for the last 10 to 15 years and as more and more people have started to recreate on the water and take their leisure time activities more seriously, there's been a renewed interest in keeping the waterfront, quality of water, and serious effort by a number of very serious people in regards to what's going to happen to our waterfront.
I'm not well versed in this public hearing tonight, only the information I've read. But I know that water level has a lot to do with the ability, I've heard a lot our, our marine owners complain or they're happy with the water levels the way it is, has a direct impact on their livelihoods, and they vary again for a number of our people in our town to recreate.
Anyone that lives on, here in the Town of Huron, the waterfront pays dearly for the ability to do that. So therefore, they want to make sure someone's protecting their interest in it. A group like this is doing that, and I think very well, and in the right process.
Other than that, I don't have a lot to say for an introduction, but if there's any questions about the Town of Huron, I'd be more than glad to answer them at this point in time before I turn the meeting back over to Linda for the next presentation.
MS. EDENGER: I'd now like to introduce another part time resident of Wayne County and on the bay, and that's Henry Stewart, who is the chairperson for this meeting.
MS. EDENGER: He is a member of the Public Interest Advisory Group, also a president and chairman of the board for the Lake Ontario South Shore Council, director of the International Great Lakes Coalition, and he has a cottage on Sodus Bay at the area called Crescent Beach, and a member of that Crescent Beach Association. Otherwise he lives in Greece, which is also very close to Lake Ontario.
So welcome, Henry and thank you.
MR. STEWART: Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to see so many people here tonight and we want to thank you very, very much for coming out. Various individuals here tonight in the audience as well are very actively involved in this study which has been going on for three and a half of a five to six year duration.
We appreciate so many of you from the general public coming out and also the various elected and appointed officials who have been introduced. We greatly appreciate your coming and your extreme interest for the study overall.
As was noted, I live in the Town of Greece in Monroe County near Rochester, but I also have a cottage here in Wayne County in the Town of Huron on Crescent Beach, and so it's of particular significance to me in that you probably know the Crescent Beach area pretty well, could be deemed to be quite a precarious area with respect to concerns for high water levels and so certainly, I have a strong interest myself in trying to be one of the individuals who takes part in the study and seeks to, you know, help insure that nothing as a result of this study could be made any worse than it has been, than regulations have been already for residents and property owners along the lake.
A very significant individual who's here tonight and has come a long way to be here, and I might note what we're going to experience tonight at the presentation, it comes through the auspices of the IJC, the International Joint Commission comprised of members, commissioners from the United States and from Canada, three from each. And one of the individuals who's a commissioner from the United States is the honorable Mr. Allen Olson, whom we'd like to recognize very much here and appreciate his attendance.
MR. STEWART: Most of us generally, I don't think have occasion to be in the same room with a governor, present or former, but Commissioner Olson has been not only formerly the Attorney General of the State of North Dakota, but also the Governor of the State of North Dakota. We're very --
MR. OLSON: Henry, you're one of the few that got North and South Dakota straight. Thank you.
MR. STEWART: Thank you. Pleasure to have you here and we thank you very much. My role on the study overall, is to be a member of what's called the Public Interest Advisory Group, the PIAG, P-I-A-G, which is made up of various individuals from the United States and from Canada, and we've been asked to serve as volunteers to act as a conduit for information to come from the public, various segments of the public, and to assist in getting communication out such as through a meeting like this, to the public and the various stakeholders involved who might have concerns and interests with respect to the study.
Now, it's important, I'm asked to note that I don't work, and none of the members of the PIAG work for any agency that's involved in policy making, decision making, with respect to this study, but we're asked as volunteers to help represent the interests of the various stakeholders. The study that is to be presented to you tonight, and the various parts of that study that have been developed so far, that study has to do with water levels and flows in the system of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
Now, the International Joint Commission, the IJC, has made various attempts over many years to develop a better regulation plan than has existed basically, since the late 1950's known as Plan 1958-D.
And in this particular current attempt, and for the very first time, the International Joint Commission has sought to involve from the beginning of this study, and this is different from any other study in the past, from the beginning of the study the various stakeholders having interest throughout the system. And this significantly, has included native Americans, the first nation of population.
Also involved among the stakeholders would be persons and individuals who have interest with respect to coastal protection, protection of residences, commercial enterprises, property basically along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Also individuals involved in recreational boating and tourism, or involved with concerns about the environment, concerns about municipal industrial residential water uses, concerns about environmental issues including wetland issues, and persons with concerns with respect to generation of hydroelectric power and the very significant shipping, commercial navigation industry.
So, all of these interests that the stakeholders have, and all of the concerns to that are brought together through the Public Interest Advisory Group auspices, and also through technical working groups.
The Public Interest Advisory Group involves the general public, the technical working groups involve the considerable science that goes into the study, and the technological expertise. And through all of these, concerns are brought together into a technical working group known as the PEFG, performance evaluation group, performance evaluation and formation group. And these are brought together and through this it is hoped the IJC will be able to have considerable input on which to base its decision regarding the study.
So all of those stakeholders sought to be involved and the IJC seeks to do this so that it will not isolate various users from these various study teams, the technical working groups and will not risk making any potential concerns in the preparation of the new regulation plan be left out. And in doing this, the IJC has sought to be extremely fair and inclusive in its attempt at producing what could be hoped to be one of the most comprehensive regulation plans for all of the communities and users that the system seeks to serve.
So, we've invited you here tonight to hear what concerns you have and to tell you that point at which the study has progressed. This might be the first time that you've come to one of our public meetings or you may have been at a public meeting and had occasion to talk with the PIAG and the IJC before. We've heard from people around the lake and throughout the St. Lawrence River system. We know that there are various conflicting concerns, particularly among residents who live along the Lake Ontario shoreline and those who live along the St. Lawrence River itself.
We know that nature has a huge impact with respect to climate circumstances, of course, and just the overall supply or lack of supply of water within the system. But the IJC knows very much that regulation is needed to manage the water levels. We also understand that no one can forecast the weather precisely enough to guarantee when water levels should be raised or lowered.
Now, one of the strongest impressions one might gain through working with the overall study team is an awareness of how complex the lake and river system really is. One of the amazing thing through the work that I've been able to, had a chance to volunteer for, is to learn how amazingly well really, the regulators manage to do it so that there's not ongoing catastrophe. But it certainly has great challenges to it.
And the IJC realizes the need for the considerable research that's been going on through the initial years of this study in order to come up with good science on which the future decisions can be based.
The format for this evening is as follows. There's going to be a 30 minute Power Point presentation, and then we will take a break to allow you to write down questions during the break we'll have a chance to link this meeting up with another similar meeting that's going on in Cornwall, Ontario. And this is what we sought to do with the various other meetings that have been had and are going to continue to be had. So on various nights throughout the past month have been various meetings.
There will be other meetings involving two locations at the same time, so that individuals at each can have a chance to hear some of the various concerns, conflicting or in consensus to those taking place in other parts of the system.
So we very much realize that you may have come to this meeting with one significant question that you want to have answered. We encourage you to listen to the Power Point presentation and be assured that your question or questions will have a chance to be presented and aired not only to the audience here, but to the companion audience in Cornwall, and then everyone will have a chance to hear the answer to that important question.
We will alternate between the two locations at that time. We want as many people at each location to have a chance to be heard, and so we ask that you be as brief as you can be, and we appreciate that, and that way everyone will have a chance to have a concise question and answer period.
Various other individuals who are here tonight will be introduced at a later point, but first we all want to introduce Dan Barletta, also from Rochester, Greece, New York, and Dan has served, and used to serve as the U.S. co-lead for the Public Interest Advisory Group.
In that capacity he also served on the so-called study team, which is the overall board that has the auspices of making the decision as to what regulation plan, new or otherwise, will be submitted to the IJC Commissioners for their review and consideration. And Dan is going to provide the Power Point presentation tonight.
I'd like to welcome Dr. Dan Barletta.
MR. BARLETTA: Thanks, Henry. Just a couple points before I get started. After the presentation and after the question and answer period, we got another Power Point presentation which is on the monitor over on the side there. That's actually the last year, last year's presentation. It provides a lot of background information on how the system works. If you got time, takes about 20 minutes to watch it. You might find that interesting.
As Henry said, my name is Dan Barletta. I live in the Town of Greece. I live on the lakeshore. I have a few Jet Ski's. I've had a boat. I, myself, have been down there for about 20 years. My wife's family has been down there since the turn of the century. Been through a number of periods of water. High water level, low water level. And I'm very interested in doing this.
Let me give you this presentation so you can get linked up with Cornwall here.
The International Joint Commission has asked me to be part of the Public Interest Advisory Group. And our job, as Henry told you before, is to make sure your concerns and ideas are addressed in the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River study.
As Henry stated previously, there's 22 of and we're all volunteer's, but we represent different locations and interests along the lake and down the river. Together we have held more than nine public meetings and 51 local stakeholder meetings with over 3,500 members of the public in attendance.
The International Joint Commission is responsible for the water shared between our two countries. It was founded in 1909 by the Boundaries Waters Treaty. In December of 1999 the International Joint Commission initiated this study to review the regulation of the outflows from Lake Ontario to the St. Lawrence River to Trois Rivieres, the area circled in red on the slide there.
Now we're presently in the fourth year of the five year study. There are over 120 people involved in this study. And the International Joint Commission mandates that all its boards and studies have equal representation from both countries.
I'd like to introduce quickly, briefly to you members of the study that are able to join us tonight. You've already met Commissioner Olson. Russ Trowbridge, who's sitting next to him, is the IJC liaison to the study. We have Gene Stakhiv. Where are you Gene? Gene is the U.S. co-director of the study. And front row, Doug Cuthbert is the Canadian-U.S. -- Canadian co-chair, excuse me. We also have Frank Scannamammano, Dr. Frank as many of you know him.
From the technical working groups, as you can see on the slide right there, we have different technical working groups. We have a few of them here with us tonight. Clarence Shoemaker, or Skip? He's from the water uses group. Pete Zuzek, Pete's over in the corner. He's from the coastal processes group. And Doug Wilcox, I know you're here. Doug is from the environmental group.
Bill Werick is from the plan formulation and evaluation group, the computer group. Myself, you know who I am. Henry Stewart, you met him. And one other member of the Public Interest Advisory Group, Max Streibel. He's from the Town of Greece. He's the deputy supervisor from that town.
Now, when we get to the question and answer period, members of other technical working groups will join us by telephone. But we hope with all these people here tonight and those, we will have the background to answer your questions.
Now, thinking about the water coming over Niagara Falls, I'm sure you're not surprised that up to 85% of the water coming into Lake Ontario during periods of high to -- during periods of average to high water levels in the upper Great Lakes comes from the upper, from these Great Lakes.
The green area, the light green area, I'm going to point to it here, is the local watershed of Lake Ontario. The darker green, this whole area here, includes not only the Ottawa River watershed but also the lower half of the St. Lawrence River.
Now, the Ottawa River, I'll just circle this area here again, that river has few control dams on the lower part. So it's harder to predict how much water from the Ottawa is going to flow into the St. Lawrence in the next week or so, and this is critical in the spring. That is one of the reasons why the flows of the Ottawa River must be carefully considered when regulating the flows of the St. Lawrence. Just this small fact gives an inkling as to the complexity of the system.
The Moses Saunders Dam at Massena is just one factor in controlling water levels. Nature is a more unpredictable factor.
Now, the outflows through the Moses Saunders Power Dam are currently regulated using a set of written rules for releases called Plan 1958-D. Although it takes into account the interests of water uses, commercial navigation and hydro power, the plan does not consider the needs of the environment, recreational boating and shoreline erosion. Plan 58-D was based on the kind of water supplies that we got in the first half of the century, and after the extreme dry periods of the mid-60's and the wetter periods of the 70's, the plan allowed deviations from the written rules.
These days 1958-D is deviated from about 50% of the time to make adjustments not only for supplies, changes in supplies, but accommodating old and new interests, for ice formation. So we call the rules we use now today 1958-D with deviations.
This plan is implemented by the International St. Lawrence River Board of Control and that board also is appointed by the International Joint Commission.
On this slide the green area, green area indicates that the technical working groups have been in the study and data collection phase during the first three years of the study. The Plan Formulation and Evaluation Group is mandated to prepare computer models that will use all the data to evaluate possible regulation plans for evaluation by the Study Board.
Now, on this slide, I'm going to give you a few minutes to read through this, but in your handout or in the folder is the list of the guidelines. These are the guidelines that the Study Board has approved for deciding which new alternate plans and criteria will best serve the public. The guidelines will be used in ranking options for the International Joint Commission.
We know we can't please everyone all the time, but the goal of the study board is to have every significant interest do as well or better than they do now. And since this is an important slide, I'll just go over it with you.
The handouts that I'm talking about states: International Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River Study, vision goals and guidelines. They're on the table out there?
MS. KREUSCH: Yes.
MR. BARLETTA: Okay, just briefly, the guidelines include that any Plan or criteria that we submit to the IJC has to be environmentally sustainable, that no particular stakeholder group will be disproportionately damaged. Flexible management will be incorporated into the plan. Mitigation alternatives will also be suggested.
The plans will have to be adaptable to climate change. We want to have the decision-making process involved in picking this plan be as transparent as we can, and that's part of the reason why we're here tonight, just to show you where we are so that you are aware as the study goes along. And the plans have to be adaptable to future technology.
Based on the input we have received from the public and the scientists, the Study Team has written criteria, metrics, performance indicators. These are being studied in order to come up with a variety of plans. As you can see on this slide, the team keeps refining these things, starting with the criteria. Those are the water levels people prefer or want to avoid.
Next, they will develop plans that try to create those water levels more often. Then they will measure the economic and environmental benefits. Those are the performance indicators, to see if the new plans and criteria really help society. You'd think that if you gave people the water levels they wanted you'd increase benefits automatically, but that doesn't always happen. And we'll touch on that in a bit.
First though, let's clarify some of these definitions of the terms that we'll be sharing with you.
In the folder, now this I know is in the folder. When you signed in, there is a list of first cut of suggested evaluation criteria. And what it looks like, it's a thick handout. On the back of it is a chart. There's a number of charts in it. These suggested evaluation criteria are not final. In fact, they will be adjusted as we go through the decision process, based on study research and public input. We hope you will review these criteria and comment on them.
The suggested evaluation criteria represent shared common objectives by various stakeholders, such as not letting the water levels get too high or too low, or reducing or accentuating the changes in levels and flows. But all these terms will be easier if we show you some examples.
Now, we talked earlier about the extent of the Study. This evening, as Henry told you, we are paired with Cornwall, Ontario, on the St. Lawrence River. Now let's look at our area.
Now, when I talked about criteria, these lines on this chart represent the criteria, the minimum and maximum levels that the stakeholders and researchers have come up with so far. I'm going to give you an example what these lines mean. But let me just point out something on the slide, just for a reference.
The present regulation plan regulates between 243.3 and 247.3. 243.3 is approximately in this area here, going across the bottom, and 247.3 is about here, between the red line and the dotted yellow black line, just to give you a reference.
Now, recreational boating and tourism would like to minimize the frequency, severity and duration of water levels on or below 245.2 feet, or above 247.2 feet from April 15th to October 15th. Also, if it's necessary to change the water levels more than .7 of a foot from the beginning of May to the end of June, we don't want to do it any more often than it happened before March of 1955, the time we call pre-project. They don't want the water to drop the water from the spring peak to the first week of September more than 9.6 inches any more often than is really necessary.
The performance indicators from this group are the measures of the economic and environmental impact the study researchers say will occur because of one thing or another. This is the performance indicators put out by the recreational boating and tourism group.
All these performance indicators are also listed on another handout. We abbreviated a lot of this information on these flyers. It's more detailed. This handout then, talking about, it's called preliminary performance indicators and it's broken down by technical working groups.
Beach users prefer that water levels are maintained within the range of 243.4 feet to 246.7 feet during May through August to have the best access to beaches and all the associated recreational benefits. For those living along the shoreline, the coastal group has developed the criteria shown with this slide. The erosion process occurs at any level, but the levels in the winter are the most important.
The technical working group has shown that the winter storms cause the most damage because the wave action force during the winter months is more severe. Therefore, we have to have a lower maximum of 245.1 feet from November to the end of February. Coastal would like to see that 246.7 feet be the upper limit from May to August. Above this level the erosion process accelerates in the summer.
And on this slide is a brief explanation of the coastal performance indicators, and I'm going to point you back to that handout again for a more detailed explanation.
The environmental technical working group has found that wetlands need higher water levels and this has actually been changed since our last meeting, about once every 50 years, and in your handout it says every 20 to 25 years. Just with recent research we've been able to change that, I think two weeks ago.
So during periods of high supplies and lake levels the environmental technical working group would like Lake Ontario to rise to about 247.7 feet at a time it would usually peak, although a few inches higher than it would normally rise under the current plan, for about three weeks.
In a different climate situation, wetlands need a very dry period about once every 20 to 25 years. So during periods of low supplies and lake levels, the environmental technical working group would like Lake Ontario be held at 245 feet or below for two years in succession with a gradual return to higher levels during the succeeding two years.
So you can see most of the time no change is needed but a few times a century to allow the lake to get a little higher or a little lower, and this will give us healthier wetlands which we believe, and the researchers, as I said, are still working on this part, in turn will give us a greater abundance and diversity of fish.
Under normal climatic conditions the minimum wintertime weekly Lake Ontario levels should be kept above 245 feet in most years. In Lake Ontario the first week of April is the most important because of fish spawning. If Lake Ontario levels can be at 245 - Excuse me, 246 feet and higher in the first week of April and the fishermen will be happy when those young reach keeper size.
You notice that these performance indicators are being tested, could occur rather than economic measures.
Commercial navigation companies find these levels important. During the shipping season if the levels get above 247.2 feet, the ships must reduce their speed to prevent shore damage to the eastern end of Lake Ontario. This, of course, increases their cost.
The three minimum levels shown here are important to the companies also. Any level below 243.9 feet means they have to reduce speed to maintain safe under keel clearances. Below 243.6 feet the ships must reduce the size of their loads. Each of these levels increase their costs.
Again, for a further detailed explanation of performance indicators I suggest you just look at that handout there.
Minimize the frequency, severity and duration of Lake Ontario levels of 243.1 feet and lower so that municipalities, industries and shoreline property owners with wells are not negatively impacted. Now, these are mainly economic, but the social impact on people with wells could be considerable.
And on this slide here we didn't have a chart to go with hydro power performance indicators so we just put that in at the end here. I'll give you a few seconds to read through that. But it's important to note that whether it's a hot day or a cold day, we all need power.
We'd like to know what you think by contacting us by either regular mail or email. The addresses for contacting us are in the material you have received. We especially need to hear from you about any of the metrics that need to be different in the upper St. Lawrence River.
We will be summarizing all the comments and concerns expressed at the meetings this summer and thus providing your input to the plan formulation and evaluation group and the study board. Your input will be evaluated and incorporated into the study where possible.
Regulation in the 1960's began with a plan called 1958-D. At that time it was the most advanced plan using the technology available at that time. Shortly after its use began, changes occurred in the climate. First we had an extended drought period in the 60's and extreme precipitation in the 70's, along with demographic changes that included new stakeholders in the system.
The Board of Control was allowed to deviate from Plan 1958-D to satisfy these new conditions. Plan 1958-D with Deviations, that's 58-DD up on the screen, became the actual, although not formally recognized operation plan.
During the study we are researching and developing plans based on economic rules, plans with the environment as the most important component, plans that stakeholders are giving us and plans using information from other attempts in the past.
All these plans are being entered into a computer model called the Shared Vision Model. And if and of you would like to see it, Bill Werick -- did you bring that with you?
MR. WERICK: I did.
MR. BARLETTA: Okay. Bill Werick has it on his laptop. He can show you how it will work. It's quite complex and we didn't want to put it on the screen because it would put you right to sleep.
MR. BARLETTA: But after that, after the question and answer period, if you want to talk to Bill about it, I'm sure he'd be happy to tell you about it.
Next year we will be returning to you with 2005 plan option for your consideration. And on this slide is our tentative meeting dates for next summer when we will present you with alternate plans based on science and your input. Please mark the date for the meeting nearest you on your calendar.
The Public Interest Advisory Group, the Study Board, the study general managers and the International Joint Commission liaisons will continue to meet with the plan formulation and evaluation group throughout the winter. We will develop recommendations for plans to bring to you next year.
In the fall of 2005, our report will be submitted to the Commissioners of the International Joint Commission for their decision process. Over the last three and a half years many people have been involved with the Public Interest Advisory Group. They have all been volunteers who are interested in the lake and the river, but for a variety of reasons have been unable to stay on the PIAG. But you'll see my name, you'll see Henry's name, Max's name, other members of the PIAG that are here tonight on this list.
On this and the next slide you'll see members of the Study Board. Some of those also have not been able to stay on the Study Board. But you'll see my name, Dr. Frank's name is on that list, Doug and Gene. That's it.
Okay. For the next portion of the meeting we'll be connecting with some of our experts who cannot attend tonight's meeting in person. You have already been introduced to the ones that are here tonight and we will also connect with Cornwall. We're going to take a short break and in your folder is a blank sheet of paper. If you need to write down a question we got pens at the front desk here. Write down a question and we'll get to the question and answer period.
(Off the record to connect telephonically to Cornwall, Ontario.)
MR. STREIBEL: Kindly take your seats. We'll start this phase of it. We're hooked up with Cornwall, Ontario, and they're waiting to get into the question and answer session.
The way this is going to go this evening, first of all, your comments and questions; anything you offer this evening will be recorded so that you can be assured that we'll have it on record and it will be applied as we go through the remaining parts of the study. We'd appreciate it, if you have a question if you come up to one of the two microphones located here in front of me, and state your name and where you're from, and kindly spell your last name for us.
I would ask also that anyone asking questions and those folks from the technical groups that answer those questions, make them as concise as possible so that we can get more people involved in the questions and answers. We'll stay as long as it takes to resolve or answer, try to answer questions presented here as well as in Cornwall.
If someone happens to ask a question that's very similar to what you're planning to ask, we kindly ask that you hold off until everyone has a chance to ask a question and then come forward and ask your version of that earlier question.
If for some reason we don't have the technical expertise tonight to answer your questions, we'll try our best to get that information for you and we'll get back to you with an answer.
We're now going to be joining with Cornwall, Ontario. Marcel, who is the facilitator in Cornwall, are you there, Marcel?
MR. LUSSIER: Who's speaking?
MR. STREIBEL: This is Max.
MR. LUSSIER: This is Max? I was expecting Jon.
MR. STREIBEL: Who were you expecting?
MR. LUSSIER: Jon.
MR. STREIBEL: Well, you've got me. Does that get a little louder?
MR. LUSSIER: That's a good guy.
MR. STREIBEL: Marcel, would you like to start this off on your end?
MR. LUSSIER: Yes. I've got three people already prepared for a question.
MR. STREIBEL: All right. Then why don't you start it off and then we'll take the next question and we'll alternate them.
MR. LUSSIER: Thank you.
MR. STREIBEL: Thank you, sir.
MR. LUSSIER: The first question.
MR. STREIBEL: Some of you have questions. If one of you would like to line up so that when they're finished we can take your question. Please speak as loudly as you can.
DALTON: Good evening. My name is Dalton (phone screeches, last name unintelligable) I'm the president of the International Water Levels Coalition and we're a grass roots organization, about 940 members now, dedicated to the proposition that we want to find a regulation plan that's equitable for all interests in the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence basin.
My first question, and I'll just ask them one at a time, but my first question is to the study board management and IJC.
Is there going to be a formal definitive response to the proposals, comments, questions put in section 7 of --(unintelligble) report that came out in January 2002, and if so, when will that happen and will it be available for comments -- be made available to the public?
MR. STAKHIV: My name is Gene Stakhiv, S-T-A-K-H-I-V. Dalton, how are you? We discussed this at several of the meetings and there's sort of a two prong strategy here.
One is that the Study Board itself, will discuss and take under consideration the various issues that were brought up in that study, the institutional study, and at another level the commission itself needs to deal with these issues because our primary responsibility is to look at developing a plan, a management or water control plan. And how the plan is implemented, by whom, is an important issue but it needs to be examined by the IJC commission itself.
We are just an advisory board. And of course, the ideas of PIAG, the ideas that you brought forward, would all be considered as part of our deliberations and hopefully would find its way into the final report.
MR. STREIBEL: Okay. Is there anyone here that would care to ask a question or make a comment? Ma'am, would you come up, come up to the microphone, please. I think it would be better if we alternated.
MR. LUSSIER: I have someone who wants to add to that first question.
MR. STREIBEL: You know, I think it would be better if we alternated.
MR. LUSSIER: It's the same question.
MR. STREIBEL: It's the same question?
MR. LUSSIER: Yes.
MR. STREIBEL: All right. Go ahead.
MR. LUSSIER: Okay.
MR. McCAULEY: I'm Tom McCauley, an advisor from the International Joint Commission liason to the study, and that's a very good question and the reason this report was done, it was on the history, 50 year history of regulation water levels, the administrative background to it. And it was done early in the study and now is the time that we're starting to come around to that. And it's an issue, when we received the report from the board -- (unintelligible) -- sets up the board and houses - this is the place that serve - you have to have soma kind of an information network and - the reason we've been looking at that, at the end of 2005 or early 2006, when we look at how
MR. LUSSIER: Thank you. Max, over to you now.
MR. STREIBEL: Thank you very much.
MS. McELROY: My name is Belinda McElroy. It's M-C, capital E-L-R-O-Y. I'm a resident of Sodus. I live on Lake Road. Some of you may know that I own Maxwell Creek Inn bed and breakfast which butts up against Maxwell Bay and Maxwell Creek and out to Lake Ontario, and I was curious as to the effects of the lake level to the wetlands on my property.
MR. STREIBEL: Who'd like to answer that? Doug?
MR. WILCOX: I'm Doug Wilcox, W-I-L-C-O-X. I work for the U.S. Geological Survey. And I spent the majority of my career looking at the interactions of lake level changes in all the Great Lakes and wetland plains communities, and the quick answer to your question, our climate change study has shown that through over about a 4,000 year paleo records of lake levels, the lake levels go through high cycles and low cycles and highs. Riding on top of that are highs and low cycles.
The highs that we had in the 70's and 80's were part of one of those smaller term high cycles. The lows in the 30's and 60's in the upper lakes, the ones we've had recently, are in this 30 year cycle where you get lows. Plain communities require the highs and lows.
The highs generally will wipe out the tall emergent vegetation that creates a canopy and shades out everything else, and so occasionally the high water levels will kill them, and then they're followed by low water levels that expose the sediments, the seeds of all the other plants get a chance to be exposed to the air and germinate and grow. You get a great flourish of vegetation. The big plants grow at the end but then they get wiped out again.
All this stuff is a cycle that's been going on for thousands of years and creates the diversity of the habitat. That habitat is critical for fish and wildlife, ducks, everything that uses wetlands.
During the recent low lake levels we've had in the upper Great Lakes, although there have been complaints about the low lake levels, there's been a multimillion dollar wetlands restoration going on for free, and water levels are coming back up now and re-flooding the vegetation. The fishermen better be ready because they're going to have the most incredible fishing in the future because of that.
Lake Ontario because of the current regulation plan and the fact we've been through a sequence of high lake level supplies during the post regulation period there have been very few low lake levels to expose to sediments.
The low supplies of the upper lakes were not quite as low for Lake Ontario but because of the current regulation plan you could not have a low. There's been - where these big dominant plants that shades out, kind of, everything else. Cattails have taken over almost every wetland in Lake Ontario. And there need to be occasional low lake level periods in the upper end of the elevation grade.
Occasionally we'd be too dry for the cattails to survive. And then the sedges and grasses, the other plant communities that typically grow there that are also very important spawning habitat when they're flooded, will take over again. We've got models to show all this.
The problem with the current regulation plan, it does not allow for highs occasionally to wipe out the invading shrubs and trees and does not allow for the lows that can take out cattails and allow the other plant communities to come in. That's a longer story than I mean to say but it's - explains how it works. Thank you.
MR. STREIBEL: Thank's Doug. Marcel?
MR. LUSSIER: A second question from Cornwall?
MR. La'FAVE: My name is Roy La'Fave. I live along the north shore of Lake St. Francis. My question relates to the, as far as decision making process when water level conflicts arise. Is it the intention to construct a decision making model to deal with conflicts using dollar related or other criteria?
MR. STREIBEL: Who'd like to take a crack at that? Should I ask if Marcel has someone over there?
Marcel, do you have someone there to answer that?
MR. LUSSIER: Do you have someone that can you answer that question?
MR. STREIBEL: What?
MR. LUSSIER: Do you have someone there for that question.
MR. STREIBEL: Okay, there's Bill Werick here.
MR. LUSSIER: Bill Werick?
MR. STREIBEL: Bill Werick.
MR. WERICK: My name is Bill Werick. I'm the guy who built the boring computer model. And yes, we're using a very sophisticated and hopefully transparent decision process.
We're trying to consider both economic and environmental impacts, and we're trying to follow the guidelines that have been set up by the board, which you see here. And as you look at them you can see some of these may be in conflict, but the basic thing is, is that for the first time to try to develop a plan that's environmentally sustainable. They're trying to make sure that overall we have net gain for the region, without hurting anybody disproportionately. So we can't have a big gain for somebody on the back of somebody else's loss.
And the process that we're following is that the Study Board practices the decision. And we have a decision expert who monitors that and sees what exactly the factors are, and they're making the trade-offs between things like economic, and environmental impact.
And we have the Shared Vision Model to give them very precise numeric scores for things like the dollars involves, the acres of habitat involved. And then we have our decision expert to help us with the trade-offs and the softer science.
And the PIAG follows that and is part of that process, too.
MR. STREIBEL: Thank you. Marcel, did that answer the question?
MR. LUSSIER: Yes, it did. Okay.
MR. STREIBEL: Our turn. Who'd like to step up?
MR. PALMER: My name is Jerry Palmer, P-A-L-M-E-R. I'm a resident of Sodus Point. In the past few years we've heard a lot about exploiting water and increased consumption of municipalities taking increased amounts out of the lake. I think maybe we've resolved the issue of exporting but I'm not sure where we stand with worrying about increased usage.
For instance, I know the Monroe County Water Authority now sells water to rural areas. Conceivably Oswego or Buffalo or Toronto or Kingston could start taking increased amounts of water out of Lake Ontario to sell to other municipalities. Has this kind of thing been taken into consideration, or is it anything to worry about?
MR. STREIBEL: Let me take a crack at that. That's really not part of this study but to answer your question I believe what the governors and the province ministers, they have an agreement that essentially if you take water out of Lake Ontario, use Monroe County Water, for example, they have to be able to replace the water.
So in other words, the water gets used. It gets its way back into the lake, either through a filtration process, pure waters, if you will, or through, you know, the normal, if you're sprinkling your lawn, let's say you're doing those things through the streams, back into the lake. So the whole idea is to conserve, is to conserve that water by putting it back in. Thank you.
MR. SCIREMAMMANO: Let me just add to that. My name is Frank Sciremammano and I'm on the Study Board.
The other important thing to remember in terms of water withdrawals is it's a very small drop in the bucket in comparison to the quantities of water that we're talking about here, and their effect on lake levels. So 5,000,000 gallons a day which a big city would draw is really not going to affect the levels in a measurable way. But a lot of it will find its way back into the lake.
And the other big factor, of course, is evaporation, which is a huge, a huge factor.
MR. STREIBEL: That sort of answer your question?
MR. PALMER: I think so.
MR. STREIBEL: Okay. Marcel, your turn?
MR. LUSSIER: Yes.
CORNWALL: Hi, my name is Cornwall (sic). A week ago we had about four inches of rainfall over 30 hours. As a result a lot of the streams and tributaries and rivers flowing into Lake St. Frances back to the banks have flooded us in the springtime.
Often there's cases where there was water back 500 feet from the river flooding soybeans and cornfields. Is there any way to we could open the boom (sic) down the valley field there and let this water down so that it would have drained quicker at this time of year.
It's very critical that farmers get their crops off in September and the fields don't dry like they do in the summertime.
MR. STREIBEL: Marcel, you have someone answer that?
MR. LUSSIER: Yes. (Name unintelligible) From Hydro Quebec.
MALE FROM HYDRO QUEBEC: When you talk about the -- and you talk about the control damage - controls up at the Lake St. Frances. (Unintelligible)
MR. STREIBEL: Marcel?
MR. LUSSIER: Anyone?
MR. STREIBEL: Marcel, would you ask your folks if they -- the volume picks up and then it really dies down. If they could talk closer to the microphone, that might help.
MR. LUSSIER: Did you get the answer from Mr
MR. STREIBEL: Yes, we did.
MR. LUSSIER: David Fay also.
MR. STREIBEL: Okay.
MR. FAY: Hello. It's David Fay. I work for Environment Canada here in Cornwall, and I'm also a regulation representative for the St. Lawrence River Board of Control.
In answer to your question, I don't know if I can really add very much to what -- already added, but somebody suggested I add something. You really can't lower the level of Lake St. Frances very much, appreciably, certainly not enough to even affect the tributary flows from the drains and the various creeks running into it because the commercial navigation going up and down. And it's a very narrow range that they keep the level to now.
In order to do what you propose you basically have to stop shipping. You'd affect everybody with a water intake. You'd have to lower it significantly to have much of an effect in terms of drainage and flows, unfortunately. It's just you have a very flat - the creeks are at a very grade so they don't drain very fast.
It's unfortunate but when we get several inches of rain that's what happens.
MR. LUSSIER: Max, do you want to add to that?
MR. STREIBEL: Just a second. Anyone else?
MR. QUICK: Lake Saint Frances is down lower
MR. STREIBEL: Come up to the microphone because we are recording. Just give us your name.
MR. QUICK: This is James Quick from Wolcott, New York. Lake St. Frances, that's on the lower St. Lawrence, isn't it?
MR. STREIBEL: Correct. Below Moses Saunders Dam but upstream of Hydro Quebec.
MR. QUICK: So that they are concerned about being flooded by Lake Ontario or the Ottawa River.
MR. UNKNOWN: Actually they're upstream of the Ottawa. He was concerned about the flooding from the local basin, and whether anything could be done to lower the level in the river so it drained there. And what we heard was that would be very difficult.
MR. QUICK: Thank you.
MR. STREIBEL: Thank you. Marcel? You have another question?
MR. LUSSIER: Another question? Marc Hudon.
MR. HUDON: Hi. It's Marc Hudon from the PIAG. Concerning the last comment about the incoming water to Lake St. Frances. Lake St. Frances only gets water from Lake Ontario. Nothing is coming there from the Ottawa River. I just wanted to just supply that for the gentleman. Thank you.
MR. LUSSIER: How nice to see you working tonight.
MR. STREIBEL: Thank you. Anyone here have a question? Looks like, Marcel, we're pretty good on this side for right now. Any other questions on your side?
MR. LUSSIER: I don't think so.
MR. STREIBEL: What do we say, going once, twice. Oh, we have a question.
MR. MARTINI: My name is Dave Martini, M-A-R-T-I-N-I, just like the drink. I live in Wolcott, spend a lot of time on Wellsley Island. Are there any other dams below Long Sioux?
MR. SCIREMAMMANO: Frank Sciremammano again. There are two dams downstream from there, before Montreal, and they're both associated with Quebec Hydro. So the water is released from Long Sioux Dam.
It flows a fairly short distance and then hits the other two dams and -- no, it's a little further upstream, upstream. (Referring to a slide) Before Lake St. Louis. It's in -- yeah, right in there. There's a couple of dams in there. And the flows from Long Sioux have to almost exactly be matched downstream because the area in between, as you can see, very small, and if the flows don't match the water either goes way up or way down quickly. Oh, and by the way, the downstream ones are all in Canada, so they're not under the jurisdiction of the IJC. Those are strictly in Canada, strictly in Quebec, and they're not international. Whereas, the Long Sioux straddles the border and that's under the control of the IJC.
MR. MARTINI: Okay. Basically my question, statement goes back to the very low water back in 98, 99, 2000, and Montreal, whenever they needed the water level raised for shipping, they let the water out at the Long Sioux to bring their level up. Now, that affects the water level from Buffalo all the way to the Long Sioux. Has there been a feasibility study on whether they can put a dam down below Montreal to hold the level up so that they can get their ships in?
MR. STREIBEL: I don't know if there has or -- Doug, you want to say something about that?
MR. CUTHBERT: My name is Doug Cuthbert. I'm the Canadian site director. Part of our mandate is not to look at additional dams.
But the question has come up by several other people in other groups as to if there is problems from Montreal why don't you build a dam downstream. Again, it's not our mandate. We're looking at simply, the regulations. But I'm sure that that's an item that we will mention to the commission because it's been raised a number of times.
The challenges are, do you really resolve your problems by continuing to build dams. And we can debate that probably at some length because the more dams you've got then the more management scenarios. You're trying to change something that existed. So it's a philosophical question. Right now there is no dam below Montreal.
MR. MARTINI: Okay. I just want to say that I want to thank Mr. Wilcox for what he said about the water levels over the last 4,000 years. You're the first one I've heard at any meeting to say that basically the lake, the river, basically controls its own level other than what you're doing with the dams, and it is essential for weeds to be wiped out and other weeds to be introduced that are naturally there. And that has a huge, huge impact on the different fish that spawn up in the wetlands and the grasslands, especially Northern Pike, which are pretty much declined in the St. Lawrence at this time. And I think a lot of that was due to micro-managing the levels.
When the water came up in the spring, it was not allowed to come up high enough. Then wherever the spawned, they dropped it so fast after that point that the eggs in the fri. (sic)were landlocked and died in the, whatever grasslands and weed areas that they were in. And I think that has had a huge impact on the decline of these fish.
MR. STREIBEL: Thank you very much. Okay. Marcel, we have another question on this end.
MS. KENNEDY: Max, it's Elaine Kennedy. I'm going to make a comment about the last point made. My name is Elaine Kennedy and I'm a member of the Public Interest Advisory Group in Canada.
MR. STREIBEL: How are you?
MS. KENNEDY: I'm fine, Max. One of the things I'd like to just comment about as far as putting a dam down below Montreal. We're in looking at the environment now, because it wasn't looked at in the 50's. It was because we as a society didn't think the environment was that important to us. We've learned in the time since then that the environment is part of us, part of our lives.
What we do to the environment affects us every way; that is, the air we breathe, the water we drink or the food we eat. And one of the things that we've also learned is that when you build a dam you disrupt that environment extensively.
The St. Lawrence River below Montreal is a big river. And to build a dam down there would create horrendous damage to the environment, to all sorts of things in the environment, whether it's birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, water quality or water quantity, et cetera. And both on the American side or on the Canadian side, we now have rules and regulations, environmental assessments that must be done through these various structures and various places. And frankly, on the Canadian side, if you tried to put a dam down there, it would never pass the environmental assessment rules and it will never happen.
Besides that, the billions that would go into trying to do that and not hurt the environment would be just unimaginable. So I just wanted to add that little bit.
MR. STREIBEL: Thank you. Sam?
MR. COLVIN: My name is Sam Colvin, C-O-L-V-I-N. I'm a six month summer resident on Fair Haven Bay.
My question is probably very elementary but it's confused me, and maybe you could help me. Basically, the question is, is there a difference between the 100 year average and what we've experienced in the last 40 years, particularly since the dam at the St. Lawrence has been in effect. And is there a difference between the 100 year and the 40 year average?
I'm under the impression, and I may be wrong, that the last 40 years the water has been higher than the 100 year average. And if I'm wrong I wish someone would correct me. And I wonder, if I'm correct, why don't we use, all use the same criteria?
This 100 year average business is confusing to me.
MR. STREIBEL: I think, Sam, first of all, I think it has to do with water supply. Do we have a slide? Do you want to explain that?
MR. STAKHIV: We've got lots of experts here. Frank Sciremammano can answer that from control board. If you look at that graph and chart, that's from 1890 to 2000. (Referring to slide)
MR. COLVIN: Where is 1890 to 2000?
MR. STAKIHIV: Left hand, way on the left hand scale is 1890.
So, what that shows is the amount of water, 30 year moving average, the amount of water that's coming into the Lake Ontario system. And you could see the decline in the 19 -- looks like 1930's, that's the low level. And it's been moving up progressively. And you can see that line that says pre-project, post-project. It's been moving up naturally, not only in this system. I've done studies on global climate change. All throughout the northern hemisphere. You look at all the Siberian rivers. You look at Devil's Lake in North Dakota, Columbia River basin, have the same general pattern over the last 150 years or so. And that's only one small part.
This is 110 year part of a long term cycle that Doug Wilcox was talking about. If you go backwards in time, we have tree ring data. There were much higher lake levels and much lower lake levels. So it's just part of the natural cycle.
So our controls, as the gentleman said before, the controls, the influence of our control dams are relatively small on top of this large natural cycle.
MR. SCIREMAMMANO: Frank Sciremammano. Let me just add to that, that when I got involved in the control board that was a central question because it's clear that the level is higher. You're correct, post-operation of the dam, than pre. But the supplies into the lake as shown on the graph are also much higher.
I had a student do a master's thesis on trying to separate the two, which is the bigger effect. And basically the evidence pointed toward the increased supply and that the control actually caused the, a moderation in what it would have been, the lake level, had those supplies come in and there was no control at the lake. Does that make sense?
So, basically the control is always blamed for the higher level, but it looks like it's really the supply. And if anything, having the control in place kind of helps moderate some of that. But not all of it, obviously. And that graph shows as well, unregulated and actual. And you can see the unregulated case, in the 70's and 80's and into the 90's. If the regulation wasn't in place -- now again, this is based on a computer model but it's pretty accurate. The levels would have been much higher on the lake than actually occurred with the regulation. And that makes sense. With the dam you can moderate the supply.
MR. STREIBEL: Think of a dam as cutting the real highs off and cutting the lows.
MR. COLVIN: I understand what you say and I agree with what you said, but my question then is, we seem to be referring all the time to the 100 year average, and it doesn't appear to me that that's an appropriate reference point. Why aren't we referring to the last 40 years?
It seems to be more appropriate to what we're trying to do. Am I wrong in the way I'm looking at this?
MR. WILCOX: This is Doug Wilcox. You're making a couple points.
One, I think you're really right, in looking at an average over 40 years or an average over 100 years, an average doesn't mean anything. Looking at the supplies from 1890 to the present, a lot's been changed. My climate change graph shows that's been going on for thousands of years. Those are patterns that are going to keep going on. And the lake don't operate on average. A regulation plan operates on an average.
The challenge for a regulation plan, to try and make wild and fluctuating things do something that just stays the same. And the fact that there's a 58-D with deviations shows that it's an almost impossible task, but given the amount of development in the lake system, we're challenged to do that.
This whole process is trying to evolve a plan that tells you the best way that it can without harming any of the interests involved. But you're very right. The 40 year average isn't the right one, in my view. The right one to use, the 100 year is the right one to use, but we can't use an average. You have to be able to deal with something that's going up and down.
MR. STREIBEL: Thanks.
MR. QUICK: James Quick from Wolcott, New York. Isn't it true that the upper Great Lakes, the last several years have been low, and so they're holding back water on Lake Ontario?
I think it's going back again so we have something to feed Montreal in the fall of the year when the river often needs extra reinforcement.
MR. STREIBEL: Frank?
MR. SCIREMAMMANO: Again, Frank Sciremammano. That's really a question to the control board, and the plan does a little of that. The control board does a little of that also, but not to the extent of the higher water that we're seeing.
The upper lakes were very low and that really reflected the drought, but it didn't extend to the east coast all the way. And we actually saw in our basin and on Erie additional rainfall which kept the level up, as well as the influence of the plan. But the plan generally and the board deviations amount to a few centimeters. That's kind of the level that we have.
Whereas right now, for instance, we're about 15 centimeters, six inches above the long term average. And that's Mother Nature. And we all know from last week what's going on in terms of the local precipitation. Now they didn't get that in Superior. They didn't get that on Huron, and Michigan. So they are still low and they're going to probably stay that way for a little while. But we're getting the brunt of it.
MR. STREIBEL: Thank you.
MR. COLVIN: See, right there Frank used, or answered that exactly the way, and exacerbates my problem.
He says we're six inches above the long term average. I would say we're right at or just a little bit below the average. Now, he's correct when he says 100 year average. We are about six inches above the 100 year average. So people thing, well, that's good, you know, we're doing all right. But I don't think we are. We're right at the average. And so the constant reference to this long term 100 year average, it's very confusing and it doesn't give you the answer that you'd like to have people accept or understand. I'll get off this time.
MR. WILCOX: This is Doug Wilcox. Just let me respond to this from one standpoint. We are thinking in human lifetimes in this time span. And the lakes operate in geologic time spans. And you're right, it is very confusing to look at whatever average.
So you know, those high supplies, we are really in a short cycle. One of the high periods we've gone through. We're in the middle of one of the -- or the end of one of the high periods. And just because you lost all the times you gambled before doesn't mean you're going to win the next time you roll the dice.
But, based on history, we're going to be moving into, we may well be in a period when lake levels go considerably lower than any of us have ever seen or any of our predecessors in the last couple generations have ever seen. It's very possible.
So the average that we're dealing with over the past 40 years is going to be a remote past issue then. We'll meet some new average. And then 50 years later can be another average. He makes a very good point. We have to think of the time span in our heads versus geologic time.
MR. STREIBEL: Marcel, did you get -- everyone hear all those comments?
MR. LUSSIER: Yes.
MR. STREIBEL: All right. Does anybody have any other questions or comments?
MR. FOSTER: Dalton Foster. And in relationship to what you've been discussing here about the supplies and the lake levels over pre-project versus post-project.
A few years ago we did a -- three or four years ago we had a slide that we showed to everyone where we compared the 40 years pre-project to 40 years post-project. And as you clarified from an earlier slide there, 85% of the water going into Lake Ontario comes from the upper lakes, from Lake Erie.
When we looked at what happened over the comparison, the periods pre-project and post-project, for a number of years, Lake Michigan and Huron went up 9.9-1/2 inches during that time. Lake Erie went up 14-1/2 inches during that period, from pre-project to post-project. Lake Ontario went up only four inches in comparison. And that was because of the regulation.
So, it went up, it was higher post regulation, but it would have been much higher had there not been regulation.
MR. STREIBEL: Thank you very much. Anything else, Marcel, on your side?
MR. LUSSIER: No more questions from Cornwall.
MR. STREIBEL: All right. Now, are there any more from Huron? Okay. We're all set.
Thank you very much, Marcel, and I hope to see you in the not too distant future.
MR. LUSSIER: Thank you very much.
MR. STREIBEL: Okay.
(Phone conference with Cornwall, Ontario, was terminated at this point)
MR. STEWART: Thank you, folks. From what we've heard this evening, you may realize that it will likely be quite impossible, even with all the information that the technical working groups are gathering, to please all individuals all of the time.
The intention is, however, that the decisions made within it are to be and will be fair, equitable, transparent and with the interests of all stakeholders taken into consideration, and that number two, as a result, the study team and consequently then the IJC commissioners hopefully will be able to come up with a regulation plan that will help most stakeholders most of the time, without hurting any interest disproportionately. And this is extremely important to note that no interest is to be harmed in a way that makes that interest's, that stakeholder group's circumstances worse than such circumstances have been under current and past regulation.
One of the very interesting aspects for me as a member of the Public Interest Advisory Group from the beginning of being appointed to be on that group is to interact with people, individuals and group members from all around the basin of Lake Ontario and up the St. Lawrence River, individuals of French speaking nature and English speaking people with diverse backgrounds, interests with respect to whether low level water, low water levels are what they need at a certain time, or high water levels.
Conflicting interests that we've found the need, and I think all members of the Public Interest Advisory Group have developed a rapport such that they leave their parochial interests behind and look at the interests of the overall basin. That's been quite an education process and one that we hope members of all the public interests will take away with them from this study as they consider what the study team is trying to do here, and in that way come up with a very beneficial resolution to what we face here.
So, we intend to come back next year around the same time to meet with you during the summer to show you at that time tentative regulation plans and to get your feedback about that. This will include members of the Public Interest Advisory Group, members of the technical working groups, IJC commission members as well. And at that point the study team will be at a point in time where the Study Board's conclusions and proposals will almost be at the point where they're ready to be submitted to commissioners of the International Joint Commission.
So it will be quite a, even more exciting hopefully point in the process, and one that we hope you'll be as engaged as you are now, and even more engaged to want to know what's going on. Maybe you'll tell friends, neighbors, individuals along the lakeshore that it might be useful to them to come to some of these meetings as well. And again, they'll be all across the basin, all over the overall Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River basin. So we will encourage you to come back at that time and to find out what's been going on.
Now, if you did not turn in your sign-in card on the way in, we hope you'll do so as you leave, since we want to be able to keep in touch with all of you.
Arleene Kreusch, our U.S. public information individual, does a great job, along with Aaron Smith in counterpart, in keeping up with notifying people about meetings and of what's going on and sending out our publication, Ripple Effects, and everything.
If at any time you think of someone or you meet someone who you detect or perceive might be interested in what's going on here, you could pass on information again tonight about how to contact the study team, how they might contact the study team or be contacted by us.
You're welcome to stay and talk with any of the members of the study team. Bill Werick is still here and he'd be happy, as we understand, to show you aspects of his computer models. And again, he's the co-lead with respect to the plan formation evaluation technical working group. And you have information out at the table that hopefully you picked up on the way in. If you haven't, we hope you'll pick some up on the way out and that includes our website on there in case most of you are equipped to contact us in that way.
So we really want to thank you all for taking the interest and coming out and hearing what we have to say and present. We hope you'll continue to share that interest through as this study continues, and as I say, even more essentially next year at this time, as we move forward to that crucial point in that critical process. Thank you very much, everyone.