Writer calls for sensible approach to Great Lakes water levels

To the Expositor:

The St. Lawrence Seaway is in imminent danger of self-destruction.

The untoward dropping of water levels in the Lakes Huron-Michigan Basin means that more water must be fed into the system to keep the channel sufficiently deep for ships to pass through it. This in turn means that more water must be siphoned from Lake Superior to keep the system viable.

But can Superior continue to supply the necessary water? Probably not under present and predicted conditions of temperature and precipitation.

So, in order to keep the shipping lanes open. Lake Superior will be dragged down to the point that both Lakes Superior and Huron-Michigan are compromised.

There is no “upper lake” beyond Superior; no further capital to spend, so the buck must stop here! With us!

Examination of the attached updated Great Lakes Levels chart indicates that at the present time, September 30, 2012, all the Great Lakes are above chart datum, with the exception of Lakes Huron-Michigan. As of this date, Lakes Huron-Michigan is five inches below datum and is predicted to reach an unprecedented level more than 15 inches below datum by mid-February. This means that rocks under water for more than 10,000 years will be bared for the first time!

If Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are to be saved, then the only sensible approach is to deal with the Huron-Michigan Basin before Superior is reduced to the point of no return.

I feel that our best hope is the placing of permanent structures at the mouth of, and possibly for a distance downstream, in the St. Clair River. These structures would be placed outside the shipping lane and would impede river flow, thereby reducing current. Through time this would gradually raise and re-store the level of Lake Huron, without seriously changing conditions downstream. To me this is the practical approach to multi-lake regulation.

My approach is admittedly over simplistic, but I feel that it is feasible from both an engineering and cost standpoint. Whatever solution is deemed to be the most practical, the logical location for its implementation is in the upper reaches of the St. Clair River.

I urge the members of the International Joint Commission to please act quickly and decisively.


Mike Wilton
Dominion Bay