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High winds lead to increased water levels

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MASSENA — Last weekend’s high winds caused increased water levels on the St. Lawrence River that led to submerged docks and debris and garbage on their lawns for some shoreline residents.

Dalton P. Foster, a local water level expert who is also president of the Wilson Hill Association, said he began receiving calls from Wilson Hill residents about the water levels late last week.

“They went up two to three feet,” he said. “A lot of the docks were under water. It was creating a lot of problems.”

Mr. Foster said he then contacted Environment Canada, which serves as an adviser for the International Joint Commission’s control board. Officials there agreed to let more water through the Robert Moses-Robert H. Saunders Power Dam at Massena to relieve the water levels.

“They’re going back down now,” Mr. Foster said. “Now that the winds have died down and they have increased the outflow, the water levels are going to go back down that two to three feet.”

Mr. Foster said the sustained period of high winds, which drove water out of the lake and down the river, led to the rise of water levels downstream.

The gates at the Iroquois Dam near Waddington were lowered Wednesday in response to an order by the International St. Lawrence River Board of Control.

The order to lower the gates was issued to the New York Power Association and Ontario Power Generation, which jointly operate the international Moses-Saunders Power Dam.

Iroquois Dam is upstream of the power dam and regulates the outflow from Lake Ontario and the water level of Lake St. Lawrence. The gates of the Iroquois Dam are being lowered to help prevent Lake St. Lawrence, the section of the river between Waddington and Massena, from rising too high.

The lowered gates at the Iroquois Dam will require recreational boats to use Iroquois Lock to pass through the dam. The gates will be lowered until further notice.

“When you get sustained southwest winds like we had a few days ago, you get a setup, which means there is more water coming in from Lake Ontario,” Mr. Foster said, adding that with the dam still releasing the same amount of water, levels are bound to increase.

“If you have a lot more water coming in than you have going out, water levels will go up,” he said.

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