Lake Erie Ice Boom Set To Be Removed
It seems like just yesterday that the Ice Boom was being installed, which signified the unofficial start of winter in Buffalo.
Now, according to a report WKBW we can be sure that spring is on the way because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is ready to remove the Lake Erie - Niagara River Ice Boom any day.
The warmer temperatures over the last few days have led to a rapid decrease in the amount of ice that covers the surface of Lake Erie. Officials say the temperature of the water in Lake Erie is up-to 33 degrees. Depending on the weather over the next few days, officials are ready to remove the ice boom as soon as Thursday, March 18th.
Considering the lack of ice cover on Lake Erie and the absence of ice in the Maid-of-the-Mist Pool below Niagara Falls, preparations are underway for the removal of the Lake Erie – Niagara River Ice Boom
-US Army Corps of Engineers Press Release
Since 1964 the International Joint Commission has installed the almost 2-mile-long ice barrier to help reduce the amount of ice enters the Niagara River which reduces the amount of ice that can cause damage to the hydropower plants that are in, and around, Niagara Falls.
The ice boom consists of 22 spans. The first four are located between Buffalo Harbor’s inner and outer breakwater, and constructed using 16, 15-foot-long mini pontoons. The remainder of the boom is constructed using a series of steel pontoons each 30-feet-long and 30 inches in diameter... Each span is built using up to 10 pontoons, anchored to the bottom of the lake at 400 foot intervals by 2.5 inch steel cables.
-IJC Ice Boom Fact Sheet
The ice boom itself is operated and owned, jointly, by The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Ontario Power Generation (OPG). The two organizations are responsible for its' annual installation, removal, and maintenance.
A reduction in ice entering the river reduces the potential for ice jams, which can result in damage to shoreline property and significantly reduce water flow for hydroelectric power production
-IJC Press Release
The IJC was created by the governments of Canada and the United States to help implement the goals of the 1909 Border Waters Treaty. The primary role of the IJC is to approve projects that can have an effect on water levels and flows along the international boundary and to investigate issues that involve the water boundary. along with suggesting solutions.
If you are interested in watching the removal, NYPA has an Ice Boom Camera set-up where you can watch the area of Like Erie and the Niagara River where the ice boom will be installed. You can take a look at the camera here.