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Ice boom removal set to begin

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photo courtesy NYPA
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By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – New York Power Authority officials said removal of the ice boom began Tuesday.

A fly-over on Monday confirmed that ice cover on eastern Lake Erie has shrunk to about 90 square miles. That is under the 250-square-mile mark needed to open the boom, according to NYPA.

International regulations require the boom to be removed by April 1 unless there is still too much ice on the eastern end of Lake Erie. The 1.66-mile long boom, made of linked, steel pantoons, was first installed in 1964 to prevent large ice chunks from damaging water intakes at the hydroelectric power project. May 3 is the latest date for its removal.

NYPA officials said it could take longer than the usual three day period to remove the entire boom. Regulations allow up to 14 days. There will be a celebration of the event on Saturday known as "Boom Days," marking the official start of the water recreation season.