Water Levels

Current Water Levels

Lake Huron-Michigan water levels were slightly above historical average for the summer finishing the summer at +18 cm above average. In the Fall of 2014, Lake Huron-Michigan water levels were pushed higher by increased release of water from Lake Superior. Read more...

Climate Change Impacts

Global warming, and the resulting climate change and extreme weather now appearing worldwide, is arguably the biggest and most challenging threat to the Great Lakes. Scientists agree that there will be ongoing negative impacts from climate change. The climate models show that most of the last century’s warmest years in the region all occurred in the last decade. With this warming trend comes a variety of other effects: warmer water and air temperatures, earlier springs and later falls, less rain and snowfall, more protracted drought-like conditions, flashier storms, longer ice-free periods, and more evaporation. Read more...

The St. Clair River

Thanks to the efforts of Georgian Bay Forever, the International Joint Commission expanded the scope of the Upper Great Lakes Study Board, its scientific body, to seriously examine the issue beginning with whether the dredging and erosion in the St. Clair River was responsible for the water level drop, and concluding with what if anything should be done about it.

The board’s final report was released in March 2012. It acknowledged the loss of some 21 inches or 53 cm due to the 1960’s dredging and historic mining dating back to the 1850's, but ruled out mitigation before going on to say that climate change represented a bigger, more present threat. Read more...

Extreme Fluctuations in Water Levels

The large changes in water levels on Georgian Bay and Lake Huron have been painfully obvious to both residents and visitors alike in recent decades. The Bay has just experienced its longest stretch of low water levels, which lasted from 1999 to January 2013. During this time levels measured below the all-time historic low previously set in 1964, and were 70 cm below the long-term seasonal average. They were also 194 cm lower than the all-time highs reached in 1986, part of a long period of high water levels lasting from 1971 to 1989. Read more...

Economic Cost of Doing Nothing

It is perhaps tempting to think it might be easier to do nothing rather than to take steps to address some of these threats. Take for example the issue of extreme fluctuations in water levels and the grave concerns expressed by many residents and other stakeholders recently when Georgian Bay and Lake Huron hit – and stayed at – unbelievable historic lows for such an extended period of time. But there is often an economic cost associated with not taking action, and sometimes that cost can end up to be considerably more than expected. Read more...

The Search for New Solutions

We strongly believe that something must be done to mitigate the effects of climate change and manage the risks we all face from the resulting high-highs and low-lows we have seen in recent years in the water levels of Lake Michigan-Huron and Georgian Bay. While a coordinated effort on the national and international levels is required to tackle the greater effects of climate change and alter the uncertain climate and extreme weather patterns associated with it, we believe there is something that can be done to better manage fluctuating water levels and address our currently unpredictable water future. Read more...