The International Upper Great Lakes Study Committee is holding a public hearing at the Third Avenue Playhouse at 7 pm July 18 to discuss its latest report on possible human manipulation of Great Lakes water levels.
The committee released its latest report on remedial measures that could be used to counter declining lake levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron in June. The report is part of Phase 2 of the study financed by the International Joint Commission, which oversees issues regarding United States and Canadian boundary waters. Phase 1, which investigated what caused the decline in water levels in the lakes since 1962, was completed in 2010.
That phase determined that climate change was the dominant factor in the decline, not ongoing erosion traced to dredging performed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the early 1960s. (For more details, see “Is it time to Leave the Lakes Alone?” from the Late Summer 2010 issue of Door County Living magazine.)
After that report was released citizens asked the committee to investigate ways to restore water levels by restricting the flow of water from Lake Huron into the St. Clair River in Michigan.
The latest report says that structures could be used to raise water levels in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron as much as 25 cm, but at substantial cost and with significant drawbacks.
The study said submerged concrete sills and an inflatable flap gate could be used in the St. Clair River, where pre-1963 dredging caused a 21-inch drop in the water levels of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. These would act as speed bumps at the bottom of the river, restricting water flow through the St. Clair.
Those measures would cost a minimum of $205 million and could cost far more. The structures could also take decades to construct “due to the need for governmental approvals, environmental assessments, engineering and design.”
The complete 187-page report and a slideshow presentation of the report are available at http://www.iugls.org. The final Phase 2 report is scheduled for submission to the International Joint Commission in March of 2012.
Great Lakes Study Public Meeting
July 18, 7 – 9 pm
Third Avenue Playhouse, Sturgeon Bay