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post #19 of Old 02-10-2013
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Re: Low Water


I agree with you on the St Clair dredging. It would be nice to point a finger at one thing and blame everything on that. I believe Mother Nature is at fault for the current low water levels more than anything else. Lack of moisture and lack of cold weather lake freezes have hurt Lakes Michigan-Huron the most.

Then again, the current study does indicate that they know what the rate of flow out of the Upper Great Lakes (UGL) is now but there is no indication that they know (or want to admit) what it was before the most recent dredging. In plain English, they really don’t know how dredging the St Clair channel has affected water levels on the UGL.

I find it interesting that the study that justified the dredging of the St Clair from 25 feet to 27 feet cited the financial benefits to commercial shipping but the current study doesn’t address the impact on commercial shipping now that they have lost over half of that increased channel depth. Perhaps commercial shipping on the UGL isn’t as important any more.

When you get into the guts of the reports, you will find that they feel the costs associated with mitigating the damage from potential flooding in high water periods will exceed the benefits that would come from water level restoration.

My conclusion that nothing will be done is based primarily on this statement in the report summary:

> 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.

If somebody handed them a $150 million check today, it would take 20 years to get to the point where construction would likely begin. So why bother. 36 years in the military and 29 years Fed civil service has made me very cynical when it comes to government reports, government planning and international agreements.

`99 Beneteau Oceanis 352, #282 WiTCHCRAFT
Milwaukee, WI
Sailing Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes
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