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NYSG Lake Ontario Water Levels Update Now Available Electronically
Great Lakes Coastal Processes and Erosion - News


Chuck O’Neill, cro4@cornell.edu

For Lake Ontario waterwatchers – and that includes recreational boaters, marina operators, charter fishing guides, shoreline property owners, environmentalists and commercial shipping interests - New York Sea Grant (NYSG) has made available anelectronic “Lake Ontario Water Levels Update” fact sheet (pdf).
The Update, revised May 2010, contains information and graphs on:

  • current Lake Ontario water levels with previous and current years

  • 20th century average levels

  • historic high and low levels

  • a water level forecast as far as five months into the future

  • data on daily inflows and weekly average outflows

  • daily deviations from long-term daily average levels 
    a chart showing actual measured water levels against long-term monthly high and low average levels for 1987 through the present.

New York Sea Grant Coastal Resources Specialist Charles “Chuck” R. O’Neill, a Senior Extension Associate with Cornell Cooperative Extension, has studied the water levels of Lake Ontario for 30 years. O’Neill also leads NYSG's aquatic invasive species programming and is the director of the New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse.
“Lake levels in the Great Lakes systems impact shoreline erosion and erosion control efforts as well as other physical resource management efforts such as boating channel depths for recreational use and commercial shipping, the health of the coastal wetlands and important fishery resources,” says O’Neill.

“This online fact sheet provides Lake Ontario stakeholders with timely access to a wealth of information that will be helpful as a coastal development decision-making tool,” O’Neill adds. “Lake levels in the Great Lakes are expected to show an overall decline as a result of climate change.”
The Lake Ontario water levels reporting will be updated monthly during the ice-free months of the year and bi-monthly during the winter.

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