By Juan Pablo Guarin-Camargo, SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Another land mass was found floating around in Lake Ontario yesterday. According to CNY Central, this land mass marks the third of its kind to be discovered this month.
Lindsey Gerstenlager, an employee for the Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District, told CNY Central that this mass was twice the size of the last two that have been discovered, with the second one measuring an estimated 60 feet long by 30 feet wide.
And while these mini-islands are a site to behold, residents of towns surrounding Lake Ontario, such as Morgan Alexander from Sackets Harbor, are warning swimmers and boaters to keep their distance.
“The other day, we were on the Saint Lawrence river. And we were on our boat, and a huge tree was just floating in the water,” Alexander told NCC News. “So that’s obviously very dangerous for us and very dangerous to anybody else.”
Local authorities have theorized that these land masses happen due to rising lake levels eroding the soft soil, combined with strong Northern winds blowing them out into the water.
Experts from the SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry (ESF) have linked the rising lake levels to climate change effects coming from the Niagara River.
Retired ESF professor Richard Smardon believes these islands serve as the perfect metaphor to how climate change is effecting Central New York.
“So we’re talking about, what you’d call the new normal. With climate change, or climate shifts, it’s increasing the severities of patterns. So, this is what we’re seeing,” Smardon told NCC News.
In an effort to combat this, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo formed the Lake Ontario Resilient and Economic Development Initiative (REDI) Mult-Agency Task Force in May of 2019.
According to Governor Cuomo’s office, “The commission will tour and examine areas that are hard hit by flooding on Lake Ontario… and develop a package of new actions – ranging from legislative changes to aid packages to executive actions – that will not just rebuild the shoreline, but improve resiliency to withstand whatever Mother Nature has in store in the future.”