Ogdensburg calling on IJC to can Plan 2014 after major flooding for second time in three years
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 1:44 pm

By JIMMY LAWTON
North Country This Week

OGDENSBURG – After flooding has devastated the waterfront in two of the past three years, Ogdensburg City Council is calling on the International Joint Commission to can Plan 2014, which controls water flows on the St. Lawrence River.

“Ogdensburg, its business owners,’ and city residents’ waterfront properties have suffered severe damages due to the flooding caused by IJC Plan 2014,” the resolution says. “The flooding caused by IJC Plan 2014 has impacted the city of Ogdensburg municipal and private business owners’ revenues, and further impacts county sales tax revenue.”

Councilor David Price, who proposed the resolution, said citizens have been personally and financially burdened by the damage from flooding, and state and federal funds have been used to assist with the damage caused from flooding.

Councilors say Plan 2014 is a to blame for the flooding.

“In the 53 years up to the year 2017, since the implementation of Plan 1958-DD in 1964, flooding only occurred once in the year 1973,” Price said. “Since the commencement of IJC Plan 2014 in the year 2017 catastrophic flooding has occurred two in of the three years of the plan’s existence.”

Price said the IJC Plan 2014 is intended to regulate the water levels of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, but it has failed to accomplish its mission to “continue to protect against extreme high and low water levels.”

Council voted unanimously in approving a resolution to call on the IJC to reinstate the Plan 1958-DD until a new plan can be implemented that will resolve the current flooding issues.

The resolution will be forwarded to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo as well as other state and federal representatives. Cuomo has already expressed support for changing the flow plan.

On Monday he visited Rochester and called for a Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative that would provide up to $300 million in funding for communities along the lake’s shoreline as well as along the St. Lawrence River.

Cuomo pointed out that the state could not afford to continue spending money to aid communities every other year if the flooding continues.

In Ogdensburg, the city is still recovering from flooding in 2017.

A portion of the Ogdensburg Maple City trail remains closed and work is suspended on the city dock and boat ramp projects due to high water.

Meanwhile the county has imposed a no-wake zone on the big river and the New York Power Authority announced it would likely have to release water through the Long Sault Dam for the majority of the summer months.

The wet weather is making summer recreation difficult for people on and off the water.

Several councilors Monday said the river was dangerous due to the rapid current making it difficult to navigate the river and forcing reduced speeds.

The county’s emergency declaration, announced May 21, established a “no wake” zone within 600 feet of the river’s shoreline.

Cuomo also declared a state of emergency for St. Lawrence County and the other shoreline counties along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

On June 5 The New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced it would have to release water through the Long Sault Dam for the majority of the summer months and advises the public to use caution on the St. Lawrence River.