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Ice boom removal starts today

One of Western New York's sure signs of spring is coming early this year.

Thanks to the mild winter - and the fact that there was no significant ice cover on Lake Erie - the ice boom across the Niagara River will start getting dismantled today, authorities announced.

Last year, the removal began April 20. In 2014, removal operations started April 29.

The earliest the boom's ever been removed was Feb. 28, 2012. The latest start came on May 3, 1971.

The ice boom, which is installed every December, is put in near the outlet of Lake Erie to limit the amount of ice the flows down the river. It reduces the potential for ice jams, which can damage shoreline property and reduce water flow for hydroelectric power production from the Niagara River, the International Joint Commission said.

In addition to the lack of ice cover, there also was an absence of ice buildup in the Maid of the Mist pool below Niagara Falls, the IJC said.

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