Lakes Michigan and Huron Increasingly Lose Billions of Gallons of Water – Study Board Recommends No Action
The International Joint Commission (IJC) released a draft of the St. Clair River portion of the Upper Great Lakes Study on May 1st for a 60-day public comment period. In response to public concerns about lake levels and erosion, the IJC appointed the Study Board to investigate the factors that affect water levels and flows; develop and test potential new regulation plans; and assess the impacts of these potential plans on the ecosystem and human interests.
The Georgian Bay Foundation commissioned a previous study by W.F. Baird and Associates, a respected engineering firm, that documented past dredging has created large gouges in the river bottom impacting water flows and accelerating erosion. The Georgian Bay Foundation has concerns with the IJC draft report findings and action plan including:
- A “No Action Recommendation” for the increased billions of gallons of water lost to the Great Lakes every day is not acceptable. The Foundation believes the economic and ecological impact from this recommendation is short-sighted.
- More thorough and complete studies are needed, including 3-D modeling. The Georgian Bay Foundation’s study and the IJC report have discrepencies regarding the amount of flow lost from the dredging and erosion.
- The public must have access to two key studies that will offer a more complete scientific picture. Background studies commissioned by the IJC on volumes of water flowing out of Lake Huron through the St. Clair River and remediation requirements should be released and available to the public to better provide constructive input.
- The study board must consider the impacts of dredging. The IJC is currently conducting studies on the impact of maintenance dredging and its possible relation to erosion on the bottom of the St. Clair River. The study will not be completed until this summer—after the public consultation process has closed. Basing management recommendations and asking for the public’s input without this basic information is premature.
A public meeting schedule in addition to how to submit comments can be found at: http://www.iugls.org/en/home_accueil.htm.
For more information, contact Mary Muter, Georgian Baykeeper, at 416 489 8101 • 416-528-4845 • firstname.lastname@example.org.