U.S. Great Lakes hit lowest water level ever on record

February 8, 2013GREAT LAKES, US - Two of the Great Lakes have hit their lowest water levels ever recorded, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday, capping more than a decade of below-normal rain and snowfall and higher temperatures that boost evaporation. Measurements taken last month show Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have reached their lowest ebb since record keeping began in 1918, and the lakes could set additional records over the next few months, the corps said. The lakes were 29 inches below their long-term average and had declined 17 inches since January 2012. The other Great Lakes — Superior, Erie and Ontario — were also well below average. “We’re in an extreme situation,” said Keith Kompoltowicz, watershed hydrology chief for the corps district office in Detroit. The low water has caused heavy economic losses by forcing cargo ships to carry lighter loads, leaving boat docks high and dry, and damaging fish-spawning areas. And vegetation has sprung up in newly exposed shoreline bottomlands, a turnoff for hotel customers who prefer sandy beaches. The corps’ report came as shippers pleaded with Congress for more money to dredge ever-shallower harbors and channels. Shippers are taxed to support a harbor maintenance fund, but only about half of the revenue is spent on dredging. The remainder is diverted to the treasury for other purposes. Legislation to change that policy is pending before Congress. “Plunging water levels are beyond anyone’s control, but the dredging crisis is man-made,” said James Weakley, president of the Cleveland-based Lake Carriers’ Association. Kompoltowicz said the Army corps might reconsider a long-debated proposal to place structures in a river to reduce the flow of water away from Lakes Huron and Lake Michigan, which are connected. Scientists say lake levels are cyclical and controlled mostly by nature. They began a steep decline in the late 1990s and have usually lagged well below their historical averages since then. But studies have shown that Huron and Michigan fell by 10 to 16 inches because of dredging over the years to deepen the navigational channel in the St. Clair River, most recently in the 1960s. Dredging of the river, which is on the south end of Lake Huron, accelerated the flow of water southward from the two lakes toward Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean. Groups representing shoreline property owners, primarily in Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay, have demanded action to slow the Lake Huron and Michigan outflow to make up for losses that resulted from dredging, which they contend are even greater than officials have acknowledged. Although the Army corps produced a list of water-slowing options in 1972, including miniature dams and sills that resemble speed bumps along the river bottom, nothing was done because the lakes were in a period of above-average levels that lasted nearly three decades, Kompoltowicz said. The corps has congressional authorization to take action but would need money for an updated study as a first step, he said. The Detroit office is considering a funding request, but it would have to compete with other projects nationwide and couldn’t get into the budget before 2015. “It’s no guarantee that we’re going to get it, especially in this budget climate,” Kompoltowicz said. “But there are serious impacts to navigation and shoreline property owners from this extreme event. It’s time to revisit this.”  Roger Gauthier, a retired staff hydrologist with the Army corps, said a series of “speed bumps” could be put in the river at a reasonable cost within a few years. Without such measures, he warned, “it would take years of consistent rain” to return Lake Michigan and Lake Huron to normal. –Yahoo News
contribution Emanni
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13 Responses to U.S. Great Lakes hit lowest water level ever on record

  1. There is no doubting on all fronts that our Mother Earth and Nature is altering both at Sea, Lakes, Skies, and beneath our Feet… the question is are we prepared ????

    Many thanks for all your informative postings
    And have a great weekend

    Like

    • Mercy says:

      It is not only “Mother Nature” altering the Great lakes. According to former governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura’s documentary about the Great Lakes, low water levels are also caused by the billions of gallons of water currently pumped into tankers bound to China for bottle water. It is free for their taking according to Ventura’s well researched You Tube video.

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  2. John says:

    Perhaps the Great Lakes, along with the Mississippi River, are draining into the collapsing Louisiana salt dome. You know, the one British Petroleum compromised with their irresponsible drilling practices. I wonder how the North American Craton and New Madrid Fault are reacting to this development. Just asking.

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  3. Irene C says:

    Living about an hour and a half from Lake Erie, I wasn’t aware of this. This does concern me. Thank you for the information, Alvin.

    Like

  4. Emanni says:

    China

    Great Lakes Conspiracy Theory Jesse Ventura

    Like

  5. Kwazai says:

    I’d be wondering about now how to put a Great Lake in North Dakota about now. Does this mean the dustbowl is next?

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  6. Kajajuk says:

    Perhaps this is the only information we are permitted to have.
    God be praised.

    Like

  7. Nibikwe says:

    Pure Michigan’s Governor, Rick Snyder, is aggressively pushing forward his plans to turn Michigan into a major ‘player’ in the horizontal hydraulic fracturing game. The oil & gas goliaths have arrived at the gates of the Great lakes, along with their visions of vast industrialization to include: pipelines, refineries, waste injection repository, oil & gas storage(Detroit has salt mines too), shipping lanes to send the fracked gas to foreign investors, mainly China, industrial drilling pads & equipment, chemicals, on and on. Most notably of late, a national horizontal fracturing water-withdrawal record was set in Michigan by Encana oil & gas USA (a Canadian company). According to a story reported by Ban Michigan Fracking.org, on Feb. 5, it was discovered that one fracking well used 21 million gallons of fresh water for one frack! Until now, it has been commonly believed that one frack ONLY used 5 million gallons of fresh, uncontaminated aquifer water. Another permit for a nearby well allows the water use amount at 16 million gallons. These are astronomical amounts of fresh water to be contaminated and never returned to the hydrological cycle (assuming a well casing never leaks, or poisoned injection waste water never ever moves after being shot back into earth). Oil & gas mineral leases of public lands are being sold by the hundreds, not to mention private leases. Multiply these numbers by gallons of water and what’s left? Does it really make sense for the Michigan government (Dept. of Natural Resources, and Dept. of Environmental Quality) to be allowing this ‘finite’ water resource to be plundered, depleted and poisoned after knowing water levels are so seriously compromised in the Great Lakes?

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  8. Pat says:

    I live in this region. Its not “evaporation”. Folks, we are told the glaciers up north are melting right? Where do you think this water flows? Yet our fresh water lakes are disappearing? Come on now. People really need to wake up to all this conflicting BS and see things for what they are. They are pumping fresh water from the great lakes and taking it to China. That’s a fact. China is the new super power and Americans need to wake up, slim down and re learn how to fight. Because right now its all fat bellied big mouth pussys who have no clue and frankly would loose a fight in about one second with a well trained lean Chinese soldier.

    Like

  9. AndrewS says:

    It’s not nice to mess with Mother Nature!

    Like

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