Commission: Allow natural levels on Lake Ontario

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ALBANY, NY (AP) – A joint U.S. and Canadian commission is recommending more natural variations of water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River to restore the health of shoreline wetlands.

The International Joint Commission is releasing its recommended management plan on Tuesday, culminating 14 years of scientific studies and often contentious public debate.

The commission’s so-called “Plan 2014” seeks to balance the needs of shoreline property owners, navigation, hydro power production and ecosystem health in controlling releases from the Moses-Saunders Dam in Cornwall, Ontario.

The plan takes steps to restore natural ecosystems around the lake after 60 years of regulations that gave greater weight to shipping, recreation, business and property interests than environmental issues.

Some lakefront residents have said wider variations in lake levels will speed erosion and increase flooding risks.