Increased outflow from Cornwall dam will quicken current in St. Lawrence River

Boaters should be wary of the "extreme conditions" caused by the increased outflow from the Moses-Saunders Dam, the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board said on its Facebook page.

Outflow to relieve levels on Lake Ontario would be 'highest ... ever released on sustained basis'

The board in charge of waterflow through the Moses-Saunders Power Dam near Cornwall, Ont., says increasing flow rates will also speed up the current in the St. Lawrence River. (Ontario Power Generation)

Recreational boaters on the St. Lawrence River are being warned to exercise caution in the coming days as a dam upriver increases the outflow of water from Lake Ontario.

The joint U.S.-Canadian board that controls outflow through the Moses-Saunders Power Dam at Cornwall, Ont., said it's increasing the releases starting on Wednesday.

The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board said on its Facebook page that it agreed at a Monday meeting to boost releases to "slightly" decrease water levels on Lake Ontario, which are at a record high for June.

The board said the 10,400 cubic metres per second outflow will be the "highest … that has ever been released on a sustained basis."

Effects of the outflow will be monitored for a 72-hour period.

The board said the outflow will increase the current in the St. Lawrence River and warned recreational boaters on the river to be "cautious of the extreme conditions."

The release, however, should not have a significant effect on water levels along the St. Lawrence near Montreal, the board said.

Commission criticized for acting too late

The organization in charge of the board, the International Joint Commission, faced criticism earlier Tuesday from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who visited Lake Ontario shoreline communities and said it was too slow to release more water.

Cuomo said the commission bears much of the blame for flooding in New York's lakeside communities that he said has affected "hundreds and hundreds" of lakeshore homes and businesses.

A spokesman for the commission said nobody could have predicted the record spring rainfall that raised the lake level.

The Army Corps of Engineers said the level of all five Great Lakes will be above normal all summer.

Forecast data showed that as of Sunday, Lake Ontario is up nearly one metre from the level it was at this time last year.

The lake exceeded its highest elevation ever for June, which was set in 1952.

With files from The Associated Press