Once again the time of year for another annual tradition in the Buffalo area is upon us.

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Installation of the Lake Erie - Niagara River Ice Boom is scheduled to begin next week.

WKBW is reporting that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning to begin installing the Ice Boom on December 10th.

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 installation happen, 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.

This is yet another reminder that winter is coming, and while I don't know about you, I know that I am not ready for winter to arrive.

The ice boom is always a contentious subject in my family. I can remember many debates amongst my parents, aunts, uncles, and their friends, where they discussed whether or not the ice boom causes us to have harsher winters. I don't know if it does or not, but I do actually wonder if that's true.

Do you think the ice boom makes our winter weather worse?

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