Originally Posted by MikeOReilly
News media is notoriously poor at digesting and presenting research. Here's one recent paper based on actual research. It says what I said, that the St. Clair dredging has had a small contribution to lowering Huron/Michigan:
Perhaps there is more recent research on the subject. If so, please post the link (to the paper, not to media reports).
That study is very old and contains data that is no longer valid. And Lake Superior can regulate its water outflow with very little effort where Michigan-Huron can't.
At the end of the day, we boaters are going to be the losers. The International Upper Great Lakes Study group has recently finished and published the results of their most recent studies.
The Study | International Upper Great Lakes Study
In a nutshell, commercial interests ashore who were/are adversely affected by high water levels in the past made a bigger impact on the study than those of us that just use the lakes as a recreational outlet. Another thing to keep in mind is that it doesn't cost anybody anything if they do nothing. Here is a key section in the most recent report summary:
At the direction of the IJC, the Study Board considered the feasibility and implications of raising water levels of Lake Michigan-Huron by means of restoration structures in the St. Clair River to compensate for past natural and human induced changes. The IJC did not request that the Study Board make any recommendation as to implementing a particular restoration option. Based on this analysis, the Study Board concluded that:
> Several of the restoration options reviewed are technically feasible. Construction cost estimates ranged from about $30 million to about $170 million, depending on the technology and level of restoration provided.
> Restoration would reduce the occurrences of extreme low water levels on Lake Michigan-Huron, but also increase the number of occurrences of extreme high lake levels.
> Commercial navigation and recreational boating and tourism interests would benefit, while coastal zone interests, hydroelectric generation and indigenous peoples would be adversely affected.
> Positive environmental effects would be concentrated in the wetlands of the Georgian Bay region, which have suffered significantly during low water levels in the past and would benefit from higher Lake Michigan-Huron levels. In contrast, restoration structures in the St. Clair River would adversely affect important spawning habitat of the lake sturgeon, an endangered species, and would have adverse effects on the Lake St. Clair fishery.
> Restoration of Lake Michigan-Huron levels would temporarily help to counteract the effects of GIA on lowering water levels in Georgian Bay. However, restoration would compound the effects of GIA in much of the densely populated southern portion of the upper Great Lakes, resulting in more high water impacts.
> Climate change could magnify the impacts of restoring Lake Michigan-Huron water levels. If water levels become generally lower in the future as a result of climate change, then the commercial navigation sector and Georgian Bay wetlands would be adversely affected, and restoration could help mitigate these adverse effects. Conversely, if water levels become higher at times in the future, flood damages would increase, and restoration would exacerbate these adverse effects.
> Restoration structures would require the ongoing commitment and financing of the governments of Canada and the United States, a process that could take 20 years or more for the full range of planning, environmental reviews, regulatory approvals and design steps.
So ... We can whine about it all day and it isn't going to matter. "Government" will take no action to return the upper Great Lakes to their "historical" levels.
I don't know about your local area but the two major marinas in Milwaukee will likely find a good number of their slips to be closed to boats that draw more than 6 1/2 feet if the current trend doesn't reverse itself real soon.