The Great Lakes are drying up; at least that’s what the International Joint Commission’s (IJC) Upper Great Lakes study says.
The report examines whether the regulation of water leaving Lake Superior through the power dams and others structures designed to regulate levels on the St. Marys River at Sault St. Marie might be improved for those using the Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan, and Erie.
During the public comment period, taking place throughout the States which border the Great Lakes, residents are being asked if the Study Boards recommendations for managing water supplies on the Upper Great Lakes meet their need or if other changes need to be considered.
The report is a disaster plan of sorts for the Great Lakes Basin. The IJC is recommending no drastic changes rather it emphasizes several remedies that are close to the previous plan. What’s different about this plan is that it will resolve issues caused by extreme conditions such as drought. Therefore, users of the Lakes will not see or feel any differences.
Christina Haska of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and hearing attendee said “The plan, although without significant changes, adapts better to environmental conditions and that’s necessary to have. And anything that will help restore the St. Marys River habitat to protect the [Lake Sturgeon] species, there’s only benefit for that”.
Although the water levels will continue to decline due to evaporation, glacial rebound, and other factors such as dredging the Adaptive Management Plan the IJC recommended should address these challenges. One of many outcomes is economic development opportunities. IJC U.S. Chair Lana Pollack suggested that the plan had implications for green jobs and economic development opportunity for small business along the shores of the Great Lakes as its health improve.
The International Joint Commission was established under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1090 to help the U.S. and Canada prevent and resolve disputes over the use of the waters the two countries share. For more information, visit the Commissions’ website at www.ijc.org.
GreeningDetroit.com will keep a close watch on this issue. Our links to the State of Michigan will help facilitate networking and partnerships to better understand Michigan great resource, Our Water.
Author: Tina Riley-Humphrey, representing GreeningDetroit.com