NIAGARA COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB) – The State of Emergency originally set to expire on Saturday has been extended for an additional 30 days, Niagara County officials stated Friday.
As Lake Ontario water levels continue to climb, officials have concerns about dangers from submerged hazards on the lake, unstable shoreline banks, and ongoing flooding issues, a press release from Niagara County said.
Emergency orders, including a 500-foot “no wake” zone, will be extended in five-day increments until the crisis passes, Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey noted.
The legislator aimed criticism at the International Joint Commission’s decision earlier this year not to let out enough water from dams on the St. Lawrence River, which has helped exacerbate lake levels.
“Extending the state of emergency is essential to ensure our municipalities and especially our volunteers are reimbursed for all the hours and materials which have and will continue to be exhausted as we fight the damages caused by Plan 2014,” Godfrey said
Legislator John Syracuse said that he is keeping an eye on the impact of high lake levels on local tourism and sportfishing industries.
“We’re seeing large amounts of debris, including parts of docks, washing up on shore. These navigation hazards are caused by the IJC’s tampering with lake levels,” Syracuse said. “There are still a lot of folks coming out, but we’ve seen a significant drop over comparable periods last year—and that really hurts the economies of little communities like Olcott, Wilson, Oak Orchard, and so on.”
Syracuse urged boaters to use extra caution while fishing in Lake Ontario.