Special Report: On the (Lake) Level

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The International Joint Commission spent $3.6 million to study water levels of lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie. A five-part series on the controversial results. What did the study find, who still isn’t happy and what happens next?


Day 1: Report blames natural causes, not dredging, for low lake levels
When the Great Lakes are high, shoreline houses risk erosion that could tumble them into the water. When they are low, more structures are exposed to wind damage, boaters can’t pull up to docks and ships can’t transport as much cargo. And lately, both things have happened at the same time, puzzling scientists and frustrating property owners.

Day 2: Report weighs Great Lakes basin’s post-glacial bounce
Even today the Great Lakes landscape is bouncing back from the glaciers that retreated 10,000 years ago. A key question researchers recently sought to answer is whether that has anything to do with fluctuating lake levels. A Michigan State University geology professor explains how it might work.

Day 3: How a 1984 ice jam may have helped pull the plug on Lake Huron
An ice jam that stalled the St. Clair River for nearly a month in 1984 may have caused Lake Huron to drain faster in subsequent years. Citing a series of clues, including modeling projections, riverbed measurements and historical data, the report said that erosion caused by the ice jam could account for nearly four inches of Lake Huron’s lowered water levels.

Day 4: Drought over Lake Superior led to drop in lakes Michigan and Huron
Some shoreline cottage owners blame dredging and other human-caused activities for eroding the St. Clair River and lowering Lake Huron. But experts with the International Joint Commission cite variations in climate as the main cause for dropping lake levels in recent years.

Day 5: Regulating Great Lakes’ levels: it’s possible, but experts debate effects
Imagine turbines at the bottom of the St. Clair River that can control the height of the water on Lake Huron. What’s more, they can generate electricity. Sound farfetched? They’re not, according to Craig Stow, a physical research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

Other lake level stories from Echo and elsewhere.

4 thoughts on “Special Report: On the (Lake) Level

  1. Obama and all his Ilinois buddies (you know…the politicians in his home state with all the “high moral values” who never take bribes) would rather use our water to flush their sewage down the Mississippi so that they can maximize their profits on shipping barges with higher water. The Mississippi River is definately a huge economic factory in our economy, so I doubt you will ever see that diversion altered or shut down.

    But I could not resist the opportunity to slam him and his political base over this issue. We, our recreational boating, and our sportfishing economy are not even a factor to be considered in comparison to the economic benefits of shipping on that river. We’re small fish and to be truthful the federal government does not care about the concerns we Michigan citizens have. Add the politics of the west coast and the agricultural industry between us and the Rocky Mountains and all of them would just as soon drain our lakes and ship our water to them for their needs.

    No doubt our lower water is being caused by the lack of precipitation and the fact that its all evaporating from not freezing all winter. But we will not get any help from the feds or Illinois during our time of need. We are going to be victims here, and the Corps of Engineers is going to spend any extra cash they have on protecting the East Coast from the next “perfect storm”. From what was said on the news last week the areas affected by the hurricaine amounts to 25% of the entire US economy. So don’t plan on any federal help in the future for this area. Any federal financial aid will be directed to that area and New Orleans to avoid future allegations of the feds ignoring the proven needs to protect the financial assets of the areas that provide the greatest amount of money to our ailing economy.

    It might be time to downsize to a smaller boat and get ready for increases in the cost of your flood insurance so that the big money guys on the east coast can rebuild their waterfront homes on beaches that should not have homes on them in the first place.

  2. The great lake water level is going down and were starting to lose ALOT more fresh water when were already low on it. We need to stop this guys its bad with in possibbly 25 years if this keeps happing we could go out of fresh water u dont want this to happen right?

  3. Pingback: IJC study: Lake level lament | Great Lakes Echo

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