Lake Michigan property owners say, “Leave them lake levels alone”


July 2000. Old Mission Pt. Lighthouse at Grand Traverse Bay. Photo: G. Lang.

An international study board is looking into raising the levels of lakes Michigan and Huron. This is at the urging of a group of Lake Huron property owners who insist that a bad dredging job on the St. Clair River – Lake Huron’s outlet – has drained their lake to an unnatural low.

But a rising Lake Huron lifts Lake Michigan’s boats: They’re the same lake. So a member of the study board’s public advisory group asked his coalition of Great Lakes property owners what they thought about the prospect of a higher Lake Michigan.

Of the 23 letters of response posted on the International Upper Great Lakes Study’s website, 21 urge the board to leave the lakes alone. Some questioned the desire to interfere with Mother Nature. Others threatened to sue. “Please consider this letter as a promise to resist by litigation any effort by the government to increase water levels on Lake Michigan,” wrote John B. Ehret, engineer and attorney.

The two supporters of the plan both cited low levels that have rendered boat launches useless around Grand Traverse Bay, among other things.

“The levels in the 2000’s have been too low exposing vast expanses of stinking mud flats, profuse blooms of vegetation, excessive reed growth including massive phragmites, and the inability to launch boats from beaches,” wrote Keith Termaat from Kewadin, Mich.

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