Q. What is Plan BV7?
A. Plan BV7 is the International Joint Commission’s (IJC) new approach to water level regulation in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The proposal, if appropriately implemented, will take steps to restore the lake and river after 60 years of environmentally damaging regulation.
Q. Why is there a need for a new plan?
A. The current plan has been alter altering the natural flow of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River for 60 years and the damage that this has caused is clear. Coastal habitats and species have suffered as coastal wetlands have been reduced. Since regulation began we have seen a steep decline in species such as the wet meadow, black tern, and northern pike.
Q. Does the plan have support?
A. The plan has international support and is backed by organizations that represent thousands of people. Just a few prominent supporters include Save the River, The Nature Conservancy and WWF-Canada. These groups represent homeowners living on the lake and river, business people, environmentalists, hunters, anglers and recreational users of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.
Q. How was Plan BV7 developed?
A. Plan BV7 has been formulated over the course of ten years with the input of more than 180 stakeholder representatives, experts, and scientists from government agencies, academia, non-governmental organizations and business representatives in New York, Ontario, and Quebec. The Plan BV7 contains input from this extensive consultation with all of these groups. More information on the plan and how it was developed is available at the IJC web site.
Q. How will BV7 help the environment?
A. Plan BV7’s balanced approach restores our coastal ecosystem and creates a healthier lake and river. It will do this by slightly relaxing current regulations to will help coastal marshes which are disappearing. This will restore vital resources and species and increase the populations of wet meadows, northern pike, black tern, muskrats and the overall health of the entire ecosystem.
Q. Will this plan cause current water levels to rise?
A. No. In fact, Plan BV7 will not let water levels exceed what is currently allowed, except in rare instances (once a century) when levels may be exceeded by 2-3 inches. Plan BV7 will carefully manage water levels and ensure those levels will not increase risk of flooding to shoreline property.
Q. How will BV7 impact the region’s economy?
A. Plan BV7 will have a positive impact on the economy. For 85 out of 100 years it will extend the recreational boating season and improve conditions for commercial shipping. It will improve hunting and angling activities which generate significant economic impact as well as reduce flooding and enhance hydropower production. In addition, a 2007 cost-benefit analysis by the Brookings Institute demonstrates that each dollar of restoration brings two dollars of benefits to the economy of the Great Lakes region.
Q. How will Plan BV7 affect shoreline property owners?
A. Plan BV7 has tangible benefits for shoreline property owners that include increased protection from flooding, rebuilt shorelines and a saving an estimated $24 million per year in shoreline maintenance.