Great Lakes levels: a painful topic

On several occasions we have commented on the disruption to Georgian Bay residents caused by falling lake levels. Read more at “Low Water Levels again”,  “A Problem Close to Home” and  “Low Water Levels on  the Great Lakes – a Serious Environmental Problem”.

The International Joint Commissions (IJC) has just released its report on this problem, compiled after many years of research and analysis.

The problem of lower lake levels appears to defy simple solution. After such extensive study, the IJC makes no concrete recommendation to the US and Canadian Governments, apart from further investigation to restore Lake Michigan-Huron water levels.  This investigation should include:

  • exploration of options that would provide relief during low water periods, but not exacerbate future high water levels; and,
  • a comprehensive binational benefit-cost analysis and a detailed environmental impact study of potential structural options.

The IJC further notes that even if  “such a measure is in place it could take up to a decade for its full effect on Lake Michigan-Huron water levels to occur.”

The IJC press release notes that Lana Pollack, U.S. chair of the Commission, chose not to sign the Commission report because, in her view,

“it places insufficient emphasis on climate change and the need for governments to pursue and fund adaptive management strategies in the basin. She also cautioned against raising “false hopes that structures in the St. Clair River, if built, would be sufficient to resolve the suffering from low water levels of Lake Michigan-Huron, while at the same time causing possible disruption downstream in Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie.”

A painful resolution to a painstaking investigation of a painful topic! For Our Grandchildren (4RG) has no wisdom to add to the discussion.  But like climate change itself, low water levels will persist long after a possible solution is in place!

 

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