SANDY CREEK, NY — Due to Lake Ontario’s high water level, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) North Sandy Pond Boat Launch on Doreen Drive in the town of Sandy Creek, Oswego County, is closed beginning Thursday, May 23. Launching of all boats is prohibited until lake water recedes to a level that boat traffic will not threaten the integrity of nearby properties and residences.
Information about the status of the launch is available on DEC’s website at: https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/23877.html. Fee launching is still currently available at several of the private marinas on North Sandy Pond; calling in advance is recommended. Boaters are reminded that a no wake 5 MPH speed limit is in effect for recreational vessels operating within 1,000 feet of Lake Ontario shoreline.
Governor Cuomo declared a State of Emergency on May 20 for the eight counties impacted by potential Lake Ontario flooding: Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wayne.
Under normal conditions, boaters are required to obey the 5 mile per hour speed limit within 100 feet of shore. With the current state of emergency in the region, and as water levels continue to rise throughout Lake Ontario, the Governor authorized and directed State Parks to institute the expanded 5 mile per hour speed restriction to 1,000 feet in appropriate areas, unless otherwise directed by a County Declaration.
Waves created by boat wakes can exacerbate shoreline erosion, further threatening residential and municipal infrastructure. Reducing speeds will result in smaller boat wakes and lessen the wave action along the shore. Reduced speeds are also necessary to ensure safe boating, as many hidden hazards and debris have been covered by elevated water levels and can threaten boaters’ safety.
DEC issued a General Permit to address the potentially damaging effects of high water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River due to the ongoing above average precipitation and snow melt in the Great Lakes Basin. This permit, based on an Emergency Declaration issued by the DEC commissioner, will expedite the process for shoreline property owners to quickly make necessary repairs and stabilize their properties from flood damage. High water levels are projected to continue and may cause widespread shoreline erosion, damage coastline structures and jeopardize infrastructure similar to the historic flooding that took place in the spring of 2017.
The new permit is available on DEC’s website. DEC will accept applications through April 30, 2020. The General Permit authority is in effect until September 30, 2020.