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Thousand Islands residents support return to more natural water flows

Thousand Islands residents overwhelmingly supported a plan to return more natural water flows to the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario last night.

At a hearing before the International Joint Commission in Alexandria Bay last night, more than 150 people applauded the IJC for a new water levels plan that would restore wetlands and help fish and wildlife.

It would also extend the boating season by about two weeks. The Clayton town supervisor said low water levels in late summer have been devastating tourism in the Thousand Islands.

"Folks stopped coming to the region because they couldn’t navigate the waterways," said Justin Taylor. "They couldn’t keep their boats in their slips, and they said, sayonara, we’re out of here."

But the new plan would cause higher and lower levels on Lake Ontario in some years. Hundreds of homeowners along the southern shore of the lake oppose the plan because they say it would cause millions of dollars in property damage.

The IJC is holding more hearings Thursday in Montreal and in Cornwall on Friday before making a final recommendation by the end of the year.

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