Ice boom to be removed beginning Monday

Late removal concerns fishing charters

Tom Puckett
April 18, 2019 - 4:51 pm

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The Ice Boom is set to be removed on Monday, weather permitting.

The New York Power Authority says the area of ice on eastern Lake Erie as of today remains above 250 square miles. However, warm temperatures are forecast for the coming days so ice cover is estimated to be below that amount by Monday April 22. Considering this and the absence of an ice buildup in the Maid-of-the-Mist Pool below Niagara Falls, preparations are underway to begin a staged removal of the Lake Erie – Niagara River Ice Boom.

NYPA says if weather allows for safe working conditions, and ice has melted as anticipated, crews from the New York Power Authority will begin opening the boom’s 22 spans on Monday April 22, 2019. Progress on removal operations will be provided on the Board’s web site.

Last year, the boom opening began on April 10. The latest date for the start of the boom opening was May 3, 1971, while the earliest start date was February 28, 2012.

Meanwhile, charter fishing boat captains on Lake Erie are worried their early-May business will suffer because of the relatively late removal of an ice boom across the Niagara River.

Charter Captain Bill Hanley tells WKBW the economic loss could reach $400,000 when you factor in charters, restaurants, hotels and other businesses. Hanley says people come from across the country for smallmouth bass fishing on Lake Erie in May.

The ice boom is designed to prevent ice jams in the Niagara River. The International Joint Commission determines when it's removed, depending on ice cover. The commission says removal is expected to begin on Monday.

Last year, the boom opening began April 10. Hanley says it can take two weeks for ice to flush out of the lake after the boom's removal.


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