Tuesday, May 5, 2009

GBA Disputes IJC St. Clair River Report

May 1: The Georgian Bay Association (GBA) is calling the International Joint Commission (IJC) report on erosion of the St. Clair River and water levels in the Upper Great Lakes "premature and its science incomplete." The draft study -- Impacts on Upper Great Lakes Water Levels: St. Clair River -- was released by the International Upper Great Lakes Study (IUGLS), an arm of the IJC, on May 1, and concluded that “remedial measures not be undertaken at this time.” [See WIMS 5/1/09].

GBA commissioned Baird & Associates, an internationally respected coastal consulting engineering firm, who release a 2004 report that 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. While the IUGLS study found that 6 billion more gallons of water are flowing out of Lakes Michigan and Huron per day as compared to 1971, they said it is due to "natural causes," and that no remedial measures need to be taken. The 2004 Baird Report found that the loss is 12 billion gallons per day and increasing.

Roy Schatz, Founding President of the GBA Foundation said, "The changes in the St. Clair River and their effect on water levels have been cited previously following rigorous and public scientific processes -- the new Study Board was meant to examine physical changes and establish the best solutions moving forward. The fact that it completely dismisses such an enormous increase in outflow and recommends that nothing be done about it is very disturbing." Bill Bialkowski, a recently retired engineer and GBA Foundation water levels committee member who has devoted years of volunteer time and expertise to this issue said, "They started with flawed data and they got flawed conclusions. The Study Board needs to move to a higher level of science in order to understand this complex river. It appears that sources were carefully screened to support preconceived conclusions."

Access a release and more information from GBA (click here).