Below is a statement from Erin Crotty, Executive Director of Audubon New York about the finalization of Plan 2014.
“Audubon New York thanks the International Joint Commission (IJC) and the governments of U.S. and Canada for reaching a balanced agreement for the management of water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Plan 2014’s sustainable water level management plan, represents a truly historic opportunity to incorporate the best available science to restore over 60,000 acres of wetland habitat for the benefit of birds and wildlife, including state and federally listed endangered species like the Black Tern and Piping Plover, while improving economic opportunities and shoreline resiliency in both New York and Canada.
The Great Lakes are a remarkable ecosystem that is essential to the economic, cultural, and natural heritage of the region, including New York. Over four million New Yorkers, and thirty million people nationwide, depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, recreation, health and overall quality of life. Recreational boating, shipping, fishing, hydropower production, and ecotourism on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are important drivers of the respective regional economies. In addition, along the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River ecosystem, Audubon has identified twelve Important Bird Areas (IBAs) that provide critical nesting and stopover habitat to hundreds of thousands of birds each year, including many federally and state-listed threatened and endangered species.
The Plan 2014 water level regulations can restore this shared waterway vital to people and birds. Audubon New York looks forward to continuing to work with the U.S. and Canadian governments, our coalition partners, and the communities of Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River on the implementation of Plan 2014.