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Water Flowing Water © Erika Noretemann/The Nature Conservancy

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Statement from The Nature Conservancy on Lake Ontario Flooding and Calls to Suspend Plan 2014

Rochester, NY

In the wake of historic flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario, the International Joint Commission is meeting this week to review its current management plan, Plan 2014. The Nature Conservancy in New York released the following statement from Jim Howe, Central and Western New York director:

“The Nature Conservancy is calling upon government leaders to focus on comprehensive solutions to the flooding, rather than political posturing and blaming Plan 2014 for problems caused by extreme weather. 

No plan – not Plan 2014, not the previous plan (Plan 1958D), nor any other – can prevent flooding when there is this much water in the Great Lakes and Ottawa River watersheds. To claim otherwise is irresponsible and misleading to the people and communities victimized by flooding. Sadly, these claims also divert attention from the harder and more important task of creating a long-term resiliency plan for all those affected by high waters.

The Nature Conservancy calls on our government leaders to focus on comprehensive solutions for shoreline communities who will face future flooding regardless of the lake management plan.

Instead of promising property owners something they cannot deliver—a Lake Ontario that does not flood—our government leaders should focus on the many ways we can begin to build a safer future.

For instance, we as a society can provide communities and property owners with the technical expertise, information, and financial support they need to make smart and sustainable choices, so that flooding damage is reduced. In the most vulnerable areas, funding should be provided to help move people and infrastructure out of harm’s way. And by keeping the shoreline as natural as possible, we can offer communities improved protection and a continued source of sediment that builds up beaches and shorelines.

We can create a safer and more resilient New York. Instead of fighting nature, we can leverage its power for protection and economic prosperity. The Nature Conservancy is eager to work with local communities, policy-makers, and other partners on flood protection strategies that will enhance our economy, safeguard one of our Great Lakes, and protect shoreline communities for generations to come.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.