Canadian Thanksgiving... time for turkey, family, friends and usually closing up! But October is also the time for admiring the turning leaves, beautiful sunsets and waiting for the really cold weather to arrive.
High Water Rant #2!
As I started my summer season with a "bit of a rant" about the need to stop only blaming the IJC and start working together on solutions, I thought it appropriate to end the season with a wee bit more!
This October, the Thousand Islands Association (TIA) hosted an open River Talk at the Gananoque Inn, on "Understanding the High Water Levels & Actions to Mitigate Potential Flooding in 2020.” Well over one hundred attended to hear guest speakers Sarah Delicate, President of United Shorelines Ontario and Ken White TIA Board Member & Water Level Committee Chair. Various news outlets covered the event and information was previously provided in TIA's September online newsletter called, River Talk.
First, I am not convinced that it is all the IJC's "fault", but after much print, online, and video information I join those who feel strongly that the matter is extremely complicated. Certainly, pointing to a single factor as the cause of the flooding can sometimes overshadow many contributing factors.
First, the IJC is not transparent in providing timely communications. Until I saw the myriad of "interests" in setting limits, I did not understand why water could not just be "let-out" of the St. Lawrence River in a timely fashion... Ha - riparian rights on both the US and Canadian shores (homeowners), shipping, power-plants, the ecology (fish & wetlands), community business, municipality revenues, and yes, recreational boaters... all have a vested interest.
During the meeting, two members of the audience also reported there is an investigation going on to determine why the Ottawa River had such devastating flooding in April, resulting in hundreds of homes damaged or destroyed. We also learned that the Iroquois Dam on our St. Lawrence River, above Cornwall, ON, (with 12 gates at capacity to let water down to the Moses-Saunders Dam, was closed in April for a month (The Moses Saunders dam in Cornwall is the last one on the St. Lawrence before it empties into the Atlantic Ocean).
Finally, I learned that all members of the IJC need to agree unanimously, when a decision is made. The IJC engineers and scientists give their recommendation, and then the IJC vote is the final word. A unanimous agreement means if one member is not happy with the proposal, it will not be implemented.
What was missing from the meeting was any justification for changing Plan 58D to Plan 2014, by ecologists. I received a letter from a reader stating that a massive amount of scientific data formed the basis to change the water limits on the St. Lawrence. Those who analyze the data concluded that our marshes, which are vital to the support of our fish and wildlife, had changed character significantly, to the detriment of our environment. The primary recommendation coming from the analysis was that some of the pre-Seaway ultra-low water or high-water years, be reintroduced… however, that recommendation was inches not feet… We have every right to be upset, now we need to find a solution, as even though some deny, hate or will not say the words Climate Change, we better be prepared.
So what happens next.... It is crucial that IJC must be more transparent, and each of us must be prepared to work together to find solutions in our own way. Make your voice heard - write letters to your local, state, provincial and federal governments. Stay informed through the media and organization newsletters (STR, TIA, TIARA, USO, etc). And make plans for your property next year, don’t stay away, you must launch your boat, plan now for 2020 - high water or not.
As I write this, we have received news the New York State has filed papers to sue the IJC. also a news article in the Detroit Free Press brings more worry... Record-breaking Great Lakes water levels could be even higher in 2020.
Ship watchers and the River community lost a champion last month when we heard of the death of Joanne Crack, 57, creator and manager of the Prescott Anchor Facebook page. Michael Folsom has written a lovely tribute to Captain Jo in this issue. Last year she partnered with Michael to provide the 2018 Seaway review for TI Life. The Prescott Anchor is carrying on but its Captain Crack will be sadly missed.
Lynn McElfresh – Ghost Stories
Islanders at the turn of the century didn’t wait until Halloween to enjoy ghosts. Ghost parties and ghost dances were popular...
Tom King – Stephen Shay - "The Wood Shepherd"
Stephen Shay, a talented craftsman turns out wooden folk-art pieces under the name, “The Wood Shepherd,” in homage to his past career as a Christian clergyman…
Donald Middleton – Regretting a Rut in the Water
I have heard that the only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions. This may be overstating things a bit, but we definitely fell into a rut...
Paul Hetzler – Flooded Tree… Most Things in Moderation
What really harms trees is a shortage of oxygen in flooded soils. Severity of flood damage also depends on a tree’s health before the event...
Paul Hetzler – Aid For What Ails – Yes Sumacs
The next time sumac’s bright red fall “flag” catches your eye, consider stopping to collect some berries to make a refreshing drink.
Michael Folsom, Suzi Austin, Brian Johnson and Lynda Crothers - Oh Captain - Our Captain, Joanne Crack
When the news broke of her passing in September, most of those who knew Jo were shocked, or even blind-sided, by her quick departure from the dock of life
Susan Schongalla – Sense of Place…
Define a "Sense of Place..." It was a beautiful day. People were out and about. Late in the afternoon there was a concert on a neighbor’s lawn...
Shelly LB Johnson – Starting to Face Climate Change
I put up a petition using a picture of a flooded boathouse and in short order found that a lot of us supported something that would encourage action.
Chris Murray – Depth of Field: The Story Behind the Image: AutumnAfternoon
I knew immediately there was a stunning photograph to be had here, but there were challenges to be overcome.
Nicol Hartshorn – Making a TI Mocha-tini
Captain Tom and I landed seasonal positions as bartenders at this sought-after country club, named Joey’s T.I. Club...
Dan LeKander’s – Sudoku 59
Puzzle #59 can be scary, but not if you learned an advanced technique.
And Please Don't Forget!
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It is not too early to be thinking about purchasing Holiday Gifts...Want to order online? Call your favorite store along the River and ask what they have that is different this year - and ask that they send one or more items to you! That way you will be shopping both online and LOCALLY.
I thank those who send photographs for TI Life – they really are better than 1000 words… Always send medium-to-high-resolution photos to email@example.com.
And, this Editor is always looking forward to receiving new submissions throughout the year. I bet our readers are too!
Susan W. Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org