Every year about this time authorities install what we refer to as an, Ice Boom at the mouth of the Niagara River at Fort Erie. The 2.7 kilometre boom consists of 22 spans (floating steel pontoons) which are installed when the temperature at Buffalo reaches 4C or on Dec.16th whichever comes first. The spans are anchored to the bottom of the Niagara River and connected by steel cables.
The boom, which has been installed annually since 1964, is designed to reduce the flow of ice over the falls helping to maintain the flow of water for hydro-electric power production. Usually this boom is removed by April 1st.
The earliest installation of the boom was Dec.8th, 1989 and latest ice boom removal was May 14th, 1971.
The installation of the boom is authorized by an international organization called The International Joint Commission. The cost to maintain and operate the boom is shared equally by Ontario Power Generation and New York Power Authority.
As a child I can vividly remember monstrous buildups of ice below the falls creating massive Ice Bridges before the installation of this Ice Boom.