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Lake Ontario & the St. Lawrence River

Why Plan 2014 Works


Click the links below to watch testimonials from Plan 2014 supporters:


The future of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River is in our hands. Plan 2014 will provide the following benefits to all the citizens of the lake and river watershed:

Environmental Benefits: A healthier lake and river, as evidenced by the following:

  • Increased populations of Northern Pike. Northern pike, the top predator in coastal marshes, have declined by 70 percent since regulation began.
  • Increased populations of Black Tern and other marsh-nesting birds. Populations of the Black Tern have declined by over 80 percent in coastal marshes, and are now on the list of threatened species in New York and designated as species of Special Concern in Ontario.
  • A 40 percent increase in wet meadow habitats, which are vital to native fish and wildlife. Since regulation began this entire class of coastal wetlands has declined by over 50 percent and been replaced by dense stands of cattails.
  • Return of a cornerstone mammal. The muskrat is an essential habitat engineer whose year-round grazing on cattails creates openings on which other animals and plants depend. Muskrats have almost disappeared from Lake Ontario coastal marshes since regulation began, and their beneficial effects will nearly quadruple under Plan 2014.

Economic and Recreation Benefits

  • Significant economic investment. The economy of the Great Lakes depends on the health and beauty of the lakes and their ecosystems. A 2007 cost-benefit analysis by the Brookings Institution demonstrates that each dollar of restoration brings two dollars of benefits to the economy of the Great Lakes region.
  • Improved conditions for recreational boating and commercial shipping. Plan 2014 will extend the season for recreational boating by avoiding the rapid draw-down of the Lake and upper River as under the current plan. Plan 2014 would also improve conditions for commercial navigation in the River by reducing shipping delays.
  • Additional recreational opportunities. Healthier Lake and River wetlands will support stronger populations of native fish and wildlife, improving the area’s hunting and angling, and strengthening the recreational economies that rely upon them.
  • Less flooding and more hydropower. Plan 2014 would slightly decrease the risk of flooding in the lower River while enhancing hydropower production in Canada and the U.S.

Landowner Benefits

  • Protection from flooding. Plan 2014 will ensure water levels are managed to avoid increasing the risk of flooding to shoreline property.
  • Continued protection for property owners. Plan 2014 is estimated to save property owners on the lake and upper river $24 million dollars a year by reducing the cost of maintaining shoreline properties when compared to no regulation. This may be 12% lower than the current level of support offered to shoreline property owners, but it is still a significant benefit.
  • Rebuilt shorelines. Restoration of low water to Lake Ontario will help rebuild shoreline property. In some areas, once sandy beaches have been replaced with rocks and cobbles, a result of the current plan’s absence of naturally occurring low water conditions.
Who’s supporting Plan 2014? 
  • Alliance for the Great Lakes
  • APT Environment
  • Audubon New York
  • Braddock Bay Bird Observatory
  • Buffalo Audubon Society
  • Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper
  • Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment
  • Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes
  • Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
  • Environmental Advocates of New York
  • Freshwater Future
  • Genesee Valley Audubon Society
  • Great Lakes United
  • International Institute of Concern for Public Health
  • Izaac Walton League of America
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • The Nature Conservancy, New York
  • Lake Ontario Fisheries Coalition
  • Lake Ontario Trout & Salmon Association
  • Lake Plains Waterfowl Association
  • New York State Conservation Council
  • Quinte Watershed Cleanup Inc.
  • Sierra Club, Atlantic Chapter Great Lakes Committee
  • Save The River – Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper
  • Thousand Islands Land Trust
  • Trout Unlimited, New York State
  • Welland Riverkeepers


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