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Notice forwarded from the IJC



     From the International Joint Commission
      
     MEDIA RELEASE
     
     For Release:       January 17, 1997
     Contact            Frank Bevacqua, Washington, D.C. (202)736-9024
                        Garwood Tripp, Ottawa, Ontario (613)995-0088
     
     
     
     International Joint Commission Seeks Relief
      for Shoreline Communities in Setting
      Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Flows
     
     The International Joint Commission invoked criterion (k) of its Orders 
     of Approval for Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River regulation based on 
     high water supplies to Lake Ontario and a recommendation made by its 
     International St. Lawrence River Board of Control today.
     
     Under high water supply conditions, criterion (k) gives precedence to 
     shoreline property owners on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River 
     from the Thousand Islands to past Montreal when setting flows through 
     the international hydropower project at Massena, New York and 
     Cornwall, Ontario. 
     
     The Board of Control's recommendation was based on the determination 
     that water "supplies of the past, as adjusted" have been exceeded. 
     Criterion (k) is an extraordinary measure that is invoked when water 
     supplies exceed those experienced prior to 1954.
     
     Since September of 1996, the Board of Control's strategy has been to 
     release more water from Lake Ontario than would have been called for 
     under the current regulation plan, known as Plan 1958-D, whenever it 
     could do so without adversely affecting other interests.  Though the 
     water level of Lake Ontario is high, it would presently be 0.7 metres 
     (2.3 feet) higher had the project not been built.
     
     The International Joint Commission was created under the Boundary 
     Waters Treaty of 1909 to help prevent and resolve disputes over the 
     use of waters along the Canada-United States boundary. Its 
     responsibilities include approving certain projects that would change 
     water levels on the other side of the boundary. If it approves a 
     project, the Commission's orders of approval may require that flows 
     through the project meet certain conditions to protect interests in 
     both countries.
     
     The International St. Lawrence River Board of Control was established 
     by the Commission in its 1952 Order of Approval. Its main duty is to 
     ensure that outflows from Lake Ontario meet the requirements of the 
     Commission's Orders. The Board also develops regulation plans and 
     conducts special studies as requested by the Commission.
     
        # # #
     
     
        Supplementary Information about Criterion (k)
        January 17, 1997
     
     In the event of supplies in excess of the supplies of the past as 
     adjusted, the works in the International Rapids Section shall be 
     operated to provide all possible relief to the riparian owners 
     upstream and downstream. In the event of supplies less than the 
     supplies of the past as adjusted, the works in the International 
     Rapids Section shall be operated to provide all possible relief to 
     navigation and power interests. [Criterion (k) of the International 
     Joint Commission's Orders of Approval for Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence 
     River Regulation of 1952 as amended in 1956.]
     
     
     The International St. Lawrence River Board of Control and the 
     International Joint Commission acted on criterion (k) at this point in 
     time to set clear priorities and provide the authority that may be 
     needed to achieve them.  Invoking criterion (k) has no immediate 
     effect on flow releases, because the Board of Control is presently 
     setting flows that will allow a stable ice cover to form.  Forming a 
     stable ice cover helps prevent underwater ice blockages that can 
     restrict flows.  Once the ice cover is formed, the Board of Control 
     will release flows as high as possible without causing downstream 
     flooding, as permitted under the winter operations provision of 
     Commission's Orders of Approval.  However, at the conclusion of winter 
     operations, criterion (k) provides the authority to release higher 
     flows as necessary to achieve the specified priorities.
     
     The level of Lake Ontario is presently at 74.81 metres (245.44 feet) 
     above sea level (IGLD 1985), which is approximately 0.25 metres (10 
     inches) above its long term average for this time of year. A 
     considerable range of levels could occur this year under criterion (k) 
     operations depending on precipitation and temperature in the Lake 
     Ontario and St. Lawrence River basin, as well as the extent to which 
     flows in the St. Lawrence River are constrained by ice conditions, 
     flooding conditions downstream, particularly during the spring runoff 
     from the Ottawa River basin, or the potential for adverse effects to 
     any other interest, including commercial navigation.
     
     Under criterion (k), the Board of Control will continue monitor 
     conditions upstream and downstream to determine the appropriate flow 
     through the power project. The Commission and its Board of Control 
     will continue to carefully consider conditions on Lake Ontario and the 
     St. Lawrence River to determine the appropriate duration of criterion 
     (k) operations.
     
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