A recent study, released by The International Upper Great Lakes Study Board (IUGLSB), has confirmed alarming news about the declining levels of water in the upper Great Lakes.
According to the study, 6 billion more gallons of water are flowing out of out of Lakes Michigan and Huron each day as compared to 1971. What is particularly alarming, is that the IUGLSB passes this of as “natural causes,” recommending that no remedial measures need to be taken.
However, in 2004, Baird & Associates, an internationally respected coastal consulting engineering firm, found that decades of dredging in the St. Clair River, shoreline alterations and sand and gravel mining have led to an increased conveyance that draws more water from Lakes Michigan and Huron into the lower Lakes and out to the Atlantic Ocean. As such, a GBA Foundation, a local environmental group is now disputing the recommendations based upon the report.
The current excessive water loss could be catastrophic for Lakes Michigan and Huron. Once the current cycle of above average precipitation and cooler temperatures ends and climate change causes long periods of drought and warmer temperatures, a further 3-4 foot drop in Lake levels would occur. Such a change would have devastating consequences for ecosystems and economies in the region.
According to GBA Foundation, the time to act is now before climate change worsens the impact on the Michigan-Huron wetlands, before ships can no longer transit the middle lakes and before more toxic blu-green algal blooms begin to decimate fish habitat and populations.
“Millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on this Study to understand what is causing this huge loss of water through the St. Clair River, but the Study Board has published a premature Report based on incomplete findings,” said Mary Muter, Georgian Baykeeper and GBA Foundation board member. “We need a serious, consensus-based, scientifically sound solution to protect this important ecological and economic resource.”
The GBA Foundation is calling on the study board of the IUGLSB, to crunch its numbers again, consider all the studies it has commissioned, and re-evaluate its conclusions before then.
The GBA Foundation is a registered Canadian charity created in 1995 to protect, enhance and restore the natural ecosystem and aquatic environment of the Georgian Bay area. www.gbafoundation.ca