Joe Comuzzi, Canadian chair of the IJC said, "Although future water levels are uncertain, we cannot ignore the damage from record low water levels. From Georgian Bay to Door County, from shoreline property owners to the shipping industry, we heard calls for action, and we urge governments to act in response to our recommendations." Lana Pollack, U.S. chair of the IJC, chose not to sign the Commission report because, in her view, it places insufficient emphasis on climate change and the need for governments to pursue and fund adaptive management strategies in the basin. She also cautioned against raising "false hopes that structures in the St. Clair River, if built, would be sufficient to resolve the suffering from low water levels of Lake Michigan-Huron, while at the same time causing possible disruption downstream in Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie."
The IJC advice to governments is in response to the findings and recommendations of the International Upper Great Lakes Study (IUGLS). Originally focused on updating the regulation plan for Lake Superior outflows, the five-year Study was expanded to include an examination of whether physical changes in the St. Clair River were affecting the level of Lake Michigan-Huron. Prior to making these recommendations to the governments, IJC thoroughly reviewed more than 3,500 comments received from the public, including those provided at 13 public hearings held throughout the upper Great Lakes basin last summer.
In a related matter, the U-M Water Center, NOAA-Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab, U-M Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research have announced a two-hour seminar and panel discussion of the drivers of decreased lake levels as well as the management and potential economic implications. The event is free and open to the public and will also be broadcasted live via webcast. Pre-registration is requested. The seminar will be held on Thursday, May 30, 2013 from 3:00 5:00 PM, with a one-hour reception to follow at the University of Michigan, 4th Floor Forum Hall, Palmer Commons, 100 Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor.
Access a release from IJC with links to the letter-report, statement from Commissioner Pollack, comments on the IUGLS study and more (click here). Access complete details on the U-M seminar (click here). [#GLakes]