Dinolfo stresses concerns over high water levels in Lake Ontario

February 21, 2019 11:13 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo is urging the International Joint Commission, or IJC, to lower the high water levels in Lake Ontario.

In a letter to the IJC on Thursday, Dinolfo says if "waters are already high… they are likely to surge even higher" and is urging the IJC to "take immediate action to lower lake levels now."

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The push follows reports showing lake levels approaching the same heights as the winter of 2017, which led to flooding that devastated homes in Greece along Lake Ontario.

Laddy Defendorf has lived on Edgemere Drive in Greece his entire life and still remembers when the shoreline included a spacious beach.

"Everyone had 100 feet of beach or more," said Defendorf. 

Instead, the neighbor is keeping a close eye on rising water levels. 

The IJC manages water levels and flows in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Their current data shows water levels more than a foot above average, higher than water levels this time in 2017 - the year this area was ravaged by flooding. 

Homeowners like Jean Meier remember it like it was yesterday. 

"It hit my second floor when it was splashing and definitely was always hitting my first-floor windows," explained Meier.

She's been an Edgemere Drive resident for 31 years. 

Meier says water levels do swell this time of year from snow and ice melting and if spring is on the drier side, they could be in the clear. 

Critics of the IJC blamed its 2014 plan to regulate lake levels for the destructive flooding in 2017, while the IJC blamed it on precipitation.  

News10NBC didn't hear back from the IJC Thursday about the high water levels, but on their Facebook page they said "planning for resiliency begins with having conversations that discuss problems, along with reviewing current and proposed policies."


Beth Cefalu

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