A summer's day in Grand Haven on the beach and in the water. Image: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District.

Congress expands Great Lakes dredging

Everybody knows water flows, but not many people know that the sediment below it does too. That’ s why harbors need dredging, or excavating the gradually accumulated material at the bottom of the water and transporting it elsewhere. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District had planned eight dredging projects in Michigan and Wisconsin for 2014 worth $13.2 million. But Congress recently allocated an additional $17.8 million. That allows the district to include eight new projects and increase funding for four of the original projects.

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Water diversion heats up in Milwaukee

Great Lakes water diversion and lake levels are among the hot issues during Great Lakes Week in Milwaukee. Echo commentator Gary Wilson reports on these issues on Current State.

Jeff Gillies

IJC study: Lake level lament

This summer, Echo ran a five-part series on a controversial study of a possibly human-driven drop in Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. The $3.6 million, International Joint Commission-funded study started in 2004 and a final report of the results  came in Dec., 2009. The study looked at erosion in the St. Clair River, which runs between Lake Huron and Lake Erie. The researchers found that the “head difference” between the two lakes – that’s a measure of how high the Lake Huron surface is above the Lake Erie surface – has dropped 9 inches since 1963.

A hole in the St. Clair River

(MI) Detroit Free Press – The so-called hole in the St. Clair River, which carries water from Lake Huron down into Lake St. Clair, is definitely big enough to merit filling, although the fix would surely be more technologically sophisticated than that. Nonetheless, the recommendation of a study group — that their findings be incorporated into a much larger study of the lakes — is probably sound. The St.

Dredging near Great Lakes OK for now: panel

(ON) CBC – Navigational dredging along the St. Clair River in southwestern Ontario has contributed to a drop in water levels in the upper Great Lakes basin, but it’s not an ongoing problem and doesn’t require immediate action, a panel of U.S. and Canadian experts has found. Water levels between Lake Michigan and Lake Erie have dropped an average of 23 centimetres between 1963 and 2006, according to a report by the International Upper Great Lakes Study Board. More

Panel: St. Clair River not draining Great Lakes

(MI) Detroit Free Press – In blunt terms, members of an international study panel said the idea that a widened St. Clair River is losing billions of gallons of water each day, causing the levels of Michigan and Huron lakes to drop, is bunk. A Canadian group put forth that idea five years ago after an expert it hired concluded that the river was acting like a bathtub drain that had been enlarged by dredging, allowing billions of gallons of water to escape too quickly into Lake Erie. More

Group wants to tap aquifer to raise level of Penn Lake

(MN) Minneapolis Star Tribune – Bloomington city officials and residents who live around Lower Penn Lake are again tussling over how to improve the water quality and appearance of the 32-acre lake. The city’s new draft management plan for the lake left many residents cold when it was presented this week at a neighborhood meeting. In their view, lake levels have dropped to unacceptably low levels since state law limited the use of a well that taps an aquifer to raise the lake’s level. More

Report on St. Clair River erosion delayed

(MI) The Associated Press – A team studying upper Great Lakes levels has postponed a report on whether they have lost excessive amounts of water through an enlarged river channel so the group can have more time for research, officials said Wednesday. The International Upper Great Lakes Study said the document would be released Dec. 1, instead of Oct. 1 as previously scheduled. The delay will give the group more time to evaluate its research and await peer reviews of a preliminary report issued in May, spokesman John Nevin said.

Special Report: On the (Lake) Level

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.