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Great Lakes Today

Lake Ontario beaches damaged by flood waters

Ontario Beach is flooded, and partially eroded.
Ontario Beach is flooded, and partially eroded.
Ontario Beach is flooded, and partially eroded.
Credit Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today
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Ontario Beach is flooded, and partially eroded.

Public beaches along the Lake Ontario shoreline are under water, which may put a damper on some summer plans.

Ontario Beach Park is a public beach in Rochester, N.Y., right on Lake Ontario.

It used to have about 100 yards of sand from the boardwalk to the shoreline, where people would drag coolers and sit out under umbrellas, but that was before this spring's high water took its toll. Larry Staub is head of the parks department in Monroe County, a south shore region hit hard by the flooding.

"We lost about half of our beach," says Staub.

Ontario Beach is a natural beach, so he has no plans to build back the 50 yards lost to erosion, but he considers this beach lucky.

"Half a beach is better than no beach.”

Just to the east is Durand Beach, which has completely disappeared beneath the rising lake. All along the coast of Lake Ontario, beaches have closed and low lying sandy shorelines have disappeared.

Staub says this is the new normal, at least for this summer, and the best he can do is make what remains of Ontario Beach safe by clearing debris pushed ashore.

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