It works in conjunction with the Iroquois Dam, about 28 miles upstream, where the lake empties into the river.
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The dam's 32 turbine-generators are divided equally by the international border and are operated independently by the N. Letting less water out of the lake until the Ottawa River peaks "can prevent several feet of flooding in the Montreal area," said commission spokesman Frank Bevacqua.
The dam also controls water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Letting out enough water to lower Lake Ontario by 1 inch would raise the level of the river at Montreal by nearly a foot, says the International Joint Commission, which controls water levels.
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But farther downstream, rain in the Ottawa River basin has contributed to flooding in Montreal, which sits on an island in the middle of the St. Thousands of people have been evacuated from Montreal and surrounding areas.
Heavy rains over the past six weeks in the 32,000-square-mile Lake Ontario basin have led to calls by New York to open the gates of the dam system and let more water flow out of Lake Ontario, where states of emergency have been declared and some houses teeter on the edge of eroded banks.
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A traffic camera has captured a spectacular image of a snowy owl in full flight.