I thought I would show you something not many of you get to see. If I was there on the first day, the whole river was covered with ice, but I doubt I would have gotten the softened, painterly feel to the afternoon photos.
What you are seeing is ice floating down the Niagara River that was set free when the ice boom was raised at the beginning of April. The ice boom is a series of 22 steel cables spanning across the river, connected to floating pontoons and anchored to the river bottom.
The boom was designed to aid in the formation of a stable ice arch at the mouth of the Niagara River. It prevents excessive ice build up at the hydro-electric water intakes. With or without the boom, only about 2% of all ice from Lake Erie enters the Niagara River (according to the video). The rest of the ice pack melts into Lake Erie. See the video below.
There is a lot of debate on the effect on local weather conditions and also differing spring warm up of the landscape, with plants beginning growth weeks later than would be without the boom.
I have no idea if this is true, but it certainly does make sense, especially concerning the water temperature in Lake Erie. The video below is put out for the sake of the Power Authority, so it will be one-sided. You will see the boom at the river origin and how it operates.
I attended at talk last weekend given by a local organic bee expert, Jeri Hens. Jeri is the only NYS producer of USDA raw organic native wildflower and tree varietal honey. A very knowledgeable woman on growing and producing naturally, she had mentioned how the severity of the drought last year has now continued into spring this year. I checked the precipitation statistics for 2013 so far, and she was spot on.
Very little snow and rain has occurred in Niagara County up until this week with flood conditions. No complaints though because our area is in desperate need. In an upcoming post, you will see what happened in 2012 due to dry conditions worldwide during the month of May. Pretty amazing when it is presented in video format. There is a lot of water here, just not available to crops, garden and landscapes for the past few years.
The Upper Niagara River is calm when the air is calm. It gets choppier as it approaches the Falls in fast and inescapable rapids.
What are these birds in the Lower Niagara River? I tried to find out, but no luck.
The Lower River is where the Falls empties. This is well down stream of the wild rapids. Here boats sail and motor.
Gull in the upper Niagara River, before the Falls.
This image is looking toward the mist of the Falls and Niagara Falls, Ontario.