2020 Water Levels Symposium: Detailed Information

On this page, you will find a list of speakers for the event, copies of the slides from the morning and afternoon sessions, a synopsis of the entire event, and the answers that were provided to the 259 questions received during and following the symposium.


  • John Allis - Chief, Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office
    United States Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District
  • Rob Caldwell - Canadian Secretary, International Joint Commission
  • Drew Gronewold – Associate Professor Conservation Ecology, Climate and Energy | Water, Michigan
  • Erika Klyszejko - Engineering Advisor with the International Joint Commission
  • Rick Layzell – Chief Executive Officer of Boating Ontario and member of the Great Lakes Adaptive Management Committee (GLAM) public advisory board
  • Wendy Leger - Head of the Boundary Waters Issues Unit at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and Canadian Chair of GLAM
  • Frank Seglenieks - Water Resources Engineer for ECCC


  • Pierre Béland - Canadian Chair & Commissioner, of the International Joint Commission
  • Elder Marilyn Capreol is Anishinaabe from Shawanaga First Nation in Ontario and is a founding member of the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership Elder’s Lodge
  • Gord Walker, Q.C. - Former Canadian Section Chair & Commissioner, of the International Joint Commission
  • The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson - Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • John Carson, President, Georgian Bay Association and Adam Chamberlain, Chair, Georgian Bay Forever

Event Summary

Morning session objective: Achieve a consensus among scientists about:

  • What we know and don’t know about water-level fluctuation cycles;
  • What we know and don’t know about human influences in the system;
  • Whether we have all the data we need to understand water levels and, if not, what data and data-collection approaches should be prioritized; and
  • How can existing and to-be-collected data be rationalized and presented to better inform decision-making.

Afternoon session objective: Achieve a consensus among stakeholders about:

  • What improvements could be made to coordination between control boards, and their coordination with other water levels control structures in the system, to better address extreme high and low water levels.
  • Action needed to make any such improvements that are identified as being needed to better address extreme high and low water levels.

Synopsis of the Event

  • The on-line event was attended by a total of 460 participants. Morning speakers were qualified scientists, engineers and academics. Afternoon speakers were those who can comment on the current system of human interferences (control boards etc.) in the Great Lakes system, the decision making process and how it could be better coordinated to achieve some mitigation of extreme high and low water levels.  Speakers provided 5-minute presentations on each topic, and then a panel answered related questions from participants.  At the end of the session, there was a 30-minute wrap up discussion and Q&A.

Answers to Additional Questions Following the Event

  • Attendees were able to submit additional questions at the end of the event. A total of 259 additional questions were received. The questions were grouped into similar topics and themes, and every question received an answer.

You can make a difference.

  • Learn more about the complex drivers of water levels, making your property shoreline more resilient, and how to encourage more government action.
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