Pilot Project launched in Detroit River to help prevent flooding
Published Saturday, July 13, 2019 10:18AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, July 13, 2019 5:02PM EDT
The University of Windsor's Great Lakes Institute of Environmental Research wants to help prevent flooding in Windsor-Essex.
The research team has placed two buoys in the Detroit River near LaSalle.
"(They) are now sending cellular signals to their phones and computers and they're seeing the live data already," says professor Trevor Pitcher. "For both water level and also wave action in the Detroit River near LaSalle in order to provide real time data the town can then use to monitor flooding issues here in LaSalle."
The Town of LaSalle has closed its outdoor pool and boat ramp as well as the Riverdance Community Centre due to overland flooding on Front Road at Laurier Drive. Front Road was closed closed July 7 and 8 due to the flooding.
Pitcher hopes the data from the pilot project will better warn communities about rising water levels and potential flooding.
Pitcher tells CTV News in the first 24 hours, the buoys showed a water level increase of five centimetres.
Windsor Harbour Master Peter Berry is eager to learn the information from the buoys.
"I now have access to that buoy. That is an indicator for us of how the river is going with the flows or alike. It is interesting technology," says Berry. "Having that daily information, hourly information at hand when the storms hit is extremely valuable and I would definitely welcome similar activities up here in the Port of Windsor itself."
"We think this is very informative data that we're going to share with municipality," adds Pitcher. "They have access to it now and they are working with us carefully to make sure the residents are well protected as best they can against flooding issues."
The two buoys will stay in the water until it ices up later this year. They are part of a larger $16 million monitoring program funded to safeguard a healthy great lakes from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation.
The Town of Lakeshore also upgraded its response level due to record high waters on Lake St. Clair by moving to a state of 'Enhanced Activation.'
That means emergency services are on standby and town staff have been assigned additional road patrols to monitor and visually inspect the shoreline and affected areas including roads, drainage and pumps.
Officials say if these conditions continue, the town will take the next step and elevate the emergency response level to ‘Full Activation’ and declare a State of Emergency.
Free sandbags and sand are also being offered to residents of Lakeshore, Windsor, Amherstburg, LaSalle, Leamington, Tecumseh and Essex.
The Town of Kingsville has also joined the list.
Sandbags are being made available to flood affected residents surrounding Heritage Road, Cedar Road, and Cedar Island Drive.
Sandbags were to be available for pickup at the Kingsville Arena from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.
But the sandbags didn't last long Saturday.
Residents living on Cedar Island say the free sandbag pickup came too late.
"I think it's a great idea but knowing the level of the lake they might've thought of it sooner," says Al Schneider.
However, Kingsville native Nelson Santos says only a few residents showed interest in the sandbags.