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Ice boom soon to be removed

The ice boom is coming out for the year.

A crew from the New York Power Authority was out on the water Monday where Lake Erie meets the Niagara River in preparation for removing the 22-span boom, which is designed to prevent heavy ice floes from entering the Niagara River, according to a statement from the International Joint Commission’s International Niagara Board of Control.

It’s nearly a week earlier than last year’s removal, which began on April 29.

The ice boom has been a fixture in the area since 1964. Its installation every December is designed to reduce “ice accumulation that interferes with hydro-electric power production and can cause flooding and damage to shore properties,” according to the IJC statement.

Ice on Lake Erie melted quickly over the last week, with warmer temperatures and rainfall.

Last Tuesday, Lake Erie was still nearly 29 percent covered with ice. By Sunday, that figure was down to 6 percent, according to data from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

The latest date the ice boom was removed was May 3, 1971.