Hamlin, N.Y.--A plan to revamp management of Lake Ontario's water levels is not popular among local shoreline property owners.
The International Joint Commission, a treaty organization between the United States and Canada, has been studying Lake Ontario's levels in an effort to develop a modern approach to management.
"It makes major changes to what we've done," said Ray Mack, a beachfront property owner of thirty years.
Mack spent $20,000 to fortify a protective wall between the depleted shoreline and his back yard.
Residents like Mack fear their beaches would disappear completely and their homes may be ruined should regulators increase the flow of water.
The plan, known as BV7, would alter lake levels by lowering then raising them at various points at the Moses Saunders Dam in Cornwall, Ontario.
The IJC is not alone in its quest to adopt the plan. Rochester's Nature Conservancy is an environmental group
backing the effort.
"It's not only [beneficial for] shoreline property owners, but the environment, commercial shipping, hydro-power, recreational boaters hunters [and] fishers," said Jim Howe, Executive Director of the Nature Conservancy. "Everyone depends on the lake."
"We do think some of the fears are unfounded," said Frank Bevacqua, spokesman for the IJC.
Several prominent politicians oppose the IJC's plan including Congresswoman Louise Slaughter.
"My concern is for my constituents in Monroe, Orleans and Niagara Counties who will be severely impacted by the plan put in place by the IJC that made this resolution necessary; their voices must be heard," said Louise Slaughter (D-Fairport).
"The fact that the IJC has not prepared adequately to avoid major damage for property owners and boaters or to make efforts to mitigate that damage is inexcusable," said Monroe County Executive and Republican congressional candidate Maggie Brooks.
Republican State Senator Joseph Robach said the IJC has been open to residents' concerns in the past and given the magnitude of this decision is hopeful that openness remains.
"I hope they will continue the open process. It is critically important that those impacted by lake levels have an open process."
The IJC held a meeting in Hilton Wednesday and has one more in the Rochester area scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m.
at Williamson High School.
The IJC cannot unilaterally implement changes, it will depend on what the United States and Canadian governments decide according to Bevacqua.
There is no set timeline for advancing BV7, but the IJC is aiming to hold hearings on the matter at the end of this year or early 2013.