SODUS POINT, N.Y. -- In the Lakeside Village of Sodus Point, the spring rains have raised the water level of Lake Ontario to a point of concern. Residents are stacking sandbags in preparation for a possible flood.
"Worst case scenario, we will have to shut down the village, and evacuate the people," said Mayor Chris Tertinek. "We flooded five times in a period of over 100 years; the low was 3 times below their limit in a hundred years. With the new plan, we're going to flood 17 times in 100 years."
While Lake Ontario experiences natural fluctuation in water levels, this year the threat of flooding has increased. That's because the International Joint Commission, the USA and Canadian partnership to manage the Great Lakes and other shared waterways, is enacting a plan to allow Lake Ontario to have a higher water level.
They hope that their efforts, called the "Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Plan 2014" will benefit the environment, and protect species like Northern Pike, Black Tern and other aquatic species.
But what might be good for the environment isn't that great for the residents of Sodus Point. The water isn't expected to recede until June. For local business owners, a flood could spell disaster for the summer season.
"It would devastate not only our business, but every business here that's in Sodus Point,” said Kelly Grey, a local business owner. “Because if the sewer systems go underwater, everybody would be affected by it."
As of right now, many local marine owners are delaying boat launching, while the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department has created a "no wake" zone within 500 feet of the shoreline.
In the meantime, the residents can do little but hunker down and hope for sunshine.