The US Army Corps of Engineers and Environment Canada are predicting Lake Michigan-Huron could hit historic lows in late Fall 2012 and early 2013. The Corps, recorded Michigan-Huron at 576.6 feet above sea level for October. That’s an inch-and-a-half above the lowest point for that month since the Corps began keeping records in 1918, and about 6 inches above the all-time low recorded in March 1964.
All of the Great Lakes are below their long-term averages and lower than a year ago because of an abnormal lack of snow in recent winters and the hot, dry summer. A wet October that included Superstorm Sandy has made only a slight difference to improve lake levels.
Recreational boaters might not have access to their launch locations due to low water and some marina operators might be unable to put boats into slips because there is not enough water, Army Corps officials said. Officials in Caseville are looking at a special assessment to land owners along the Pigeon river to pay for dredging in Caseville harbor.
Rep. Candice Miller asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine whether the Lake Michigan outflows in Chicago are partly responsible for the recent drop-off, although she acknowledged that experts say the biggest culprits are drought and evaporation. Man-made water diversion from Lake Michigan in the Chicago area dates to the mid-1800s. A massive engineering project completed in 1900 reversed the flow of the Chicago and Calumet rivers and constructed a shipping canal, sending the city’s sewage toward the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.
Miller said regardless of how big a role the Chicago diversion plays, it should cease. The shipping canal through which the water flows is also the focal point of a debate over invasive species, as scientists fear it may provide a pathway for Asian carp to reach the Great Lakes. Michigan and four other states are suing in federal court to place barriers in the Chicago waterways, which business and government leaders in Illinois say would devastate the city’s economy.
The Army Corps is scheduled to release a six-month lake levels forecast November 5th.
This report was collected from various sources – Thumbwind
- Low Great Lakes water levels creating havoc for both Muskegon-area boaters and shippers (mlive.com)
- Michigan Marina’s Scramble to Get Boats Out as Water Levels Skirt Historic Lows (thumbwind.com)
- Michigansthumb.com:Lake Huron: The water is low and could be heading lower (michigansthumb.com)