The Search for New Solutions

Managing Water Levels in the Great Lakes

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.

Addressing the issue of extreme fluctuations in water levels

To this end, the issue of extreme water level fluctuations is one of the areas where GBF invests time and resources. The Mowat Study clearly showed that volatility in water levels is not only an environmental issue, but also a personal and economic issue. A healthy ecosystem supports public health and safety, as well as a vibrant and prosperous economy, and vice versa. They are all inter-connected.

The prudent response strategy is to take a long-term view of the risks and vulnerabilities involved, apply leadership and visionary thinking in determining how we can best mitigate them, and to do it now, while there is still time. We believe a sustainable solution can and must be found to this challenging ongoing problem, one that will finally put an end to the uncertainty and concern surrounding our waters. In order to address this important issue, GBF conducted a comprehensive professional engineering feasibility study that began in 2015 to explore a broad range of possible climate-resilient options and provide a thoughtful and informed analysis of them.

The Goal
Our goal: identify and assess a variety of engineered structural solutions and determine the most effective and suitable climate resilient configurations to mitigate plausible future extreme water levels of Lake Michigan-Huron and Georgian Bay.

Update October 2016, Managing Water Levels in the Great lakes: The Search for New Solutions : Please read AECOM's executive summary of the finished report titled Providing Structural Solutions for Adaptive Management in the Great Lakes: Creating Climate Resilience.
Examples of Water Level Management
Why Now?
The Opportunity