HIGH WATER LEVEL RESPONSE ACTION POINTS
After reaching an all-time low level in January 2013, Lake Michigan-Huron, and all other Great Lakes, have risen dramatically, rapidly, and destructively in the past few years. In just the past few years, severe personal and public property damages and loss of public recreation areas and roadways have occurred. An increase in precipitation and runoff of snow melt minus less evaporation has been cited as the cause. The Great Lakes Coalition believes that some of the increase is due to rivers that divert flow into Lake Superior and increased outflow from Lake Superior into Lake Michigan.
Here are the steps the Great Lakes Coalition believes should be taken: Many of these actions come from International Joint Commission (IJC) study reports:
- Restore the Long Lac and Ogoki rivers in Canada to their original flow channels to Hudson Bay instead of the present diversion into Lake Superior
- Operate the Lake Superior Regulation Plan in a more balanced manner to decrease flows into Lakes Michigan-Huron when their levels are approaching record highs.
- Remove the in-fills that restrict flow through the Niagara River
- Open the Black Rock Lock in Buffalo in order to increase Niagara River flow
- Utilize the Welland Canal to supplement Niagara River flow
- Consider increasing the Chicago Diversion when the Mississippi River is not at flood levels
- Install an ice boom at the head of the St. Clair River to reduce risk of ice jams
- Examine ways to accomplish increasing outflow from Lake Ontario
- Investigate other outflow sources such as the Erie Canal into the Hudson River
- Include citizen representatives at the policy decision segment of water level management
- Each Great Lake should have some water level control and the water level variance between highs and lows should be smaller
The Great Lakes Coalition will work with other organizations to help get these steps achieved. Shoreline property owners should submit their own high water level shoreline experiences to their governor, federal representatives, and the IJC with a request for government to take the above actions.