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Century-old work order could slow water loss in Great Lakes

Friday, February 08, 2013   by: Staff




Time for Action on Low Water in Great Lakes: Hughes

OTTAWA – The government needs to step up their game and do something about the water levels in Lake Huron which are the lowest ever recorded for the lake, according to Carol Hughes. 

The MP for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing led a concentrated effort on the issue in parliament this week that she hopes will lead to action. 

On Wednesday, Hughes marshalled a group of New Democrats including Northern Ontario MPs, Claude Gravelle and Glenn Thibeault as well the party’s Transportation Critic, Olivia Chow to bring the issue some prominence as they tabled petitions with more than 3,000 signatures gathered on Manitoulin Island. 

She followed that up with a statement on the issue on Friday.

Hughes says the low water has economic and environmental impacts that can no longer go unaddressed.

“Wetlands are endangered, docks and boat ramps are high and dry, exposed water lines are freezing, and the Harbour at South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island will have to be dredged so the Chi Chemaun Ferry can reach the dock,” said Hughes. “Property values are affected and now freighters on the Great Lakes are running light so they don’t bottom out.”

The MP is calling for action on a century-old work order to create compensating structures that will reduce Lake Huron’s flow into the St. Clair River as one part of a solution that could be addressed quickly.

“The International Joint Commission has adopted a wait and see stance that isn’t sitting well with the communities, businesses, and individuals affected,” said Hughes. “They want action and are pointing to the derelict work order for compensating structures in the St. Clair River as a good place to start.” 

While the low water level is a story that seems to be picking up momentum, Hughes is concerned that the government remains silent on the issue.

“With water levels down in all the Great Lakes, it’s time to protect these Canadian crown jewels and reverse the mounting environmental and economic crisis,” said Hughes.

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
fullstringer 2/8/2013 5:11:29 PM Report

OMG! Can you spell I-D-I-O-T? Anything to get her name and pic out there I suppose?
riverman 2/8/2013 5:21:51 PM Report

@ fullstringer:

I don't understand why you have called her an idiot. Can you please elaborate?
James O'Brien 2/8/2013 5:29:54 PM Report

Yes....please elaborate!
Beej 2/8/2013 6:03:51 PM Report

Indeed.. I don't see anyone else too concerned about the declining water levels, someone needs to address it.
Whoever the people were that came up with the "Wait and see approach" are the idiots.
kodak11 2/8/2013 6:28:21 PM Report

what are we going to do?,everyone knows its the states letting more water into the mississippi.and we all know what the states want they get.
stiJJy 2/8/2013 7:40:29 PM Report

We should just close the gates up here and hold Superior for ransom until something is done. Hahaha
Wicket 2/8/2013 7:49:46 PM Report

If Superior's gates located here in the Soo were closed in order to bring our shores north of the Soo up to levels of the past, what would happen to the rest of the great lakes? Hope they have a lot of feeder rivers into them.
Somebody in the government should put that out there, who controls the gates anyway, I think they are all located on Canadian land.
methos 2/8/2013 9:12:04 PM Report

Take the time to read this report summarizing the great lakes water levels.
BrendaW 2/8/2013 11:03:36 PM Report

Well speaking for myself someone who grew up in Canada...born and raised and is also American by birth mother...I can tell you the water levels are a concern to many Americans they depend on this for their Marine industry heavily in those areas,tourism, transportation use of the waterways to get to and from cottages etc. so many of them would agree it's time to do something about this issue as well. we can keep ignoring our enviorment sooner or later it will end is disaster...lets get the problem taken care of now before it gets any any politician who fights for a good cause usually has researched it well...
Riverpilot 2/9/2013 10:43:15 AM Report

After having sailed the Great Lakes for several years and the knowledge I have gathered over the past decade, the primary problem lies at the location of the Blue water Bridge, the head waters of the St. Clair River. Located at the very base of Lake Huron, it acts like a drain in a bath tub. The current there is so strong that most large ships have to skillfully maneuver their vessel through the gauntlet to avoid collision or grounding. The water flows uncontrollably through this area, carrying sediments and over time eroding the shores/bottom as it glides past, depositing all those sediments into Lake St. Clair. Dredging and maintaining the depths of Lake St. Clair has prevailed in that region for decades but no mention where the sediments came from. As the trough widens and deepens, more water volume will flow through. Take a look at the changes in volume flow recorded there over the past is astounding. The solution to this delimma, with the diminished levels of Huron and Michigan can be corrected by placing a dam and lock at the Port Huron/Sarnia location for control of these waters. The Joint International Seaway Commission knows this but entails an enormous expense. So, when the lake levels are blamed on lack of precipitation, Global warming etc, rest assured there is a much more obvious issue that officials are turning a blind eye on!
hockeygranny13 2/9/2013 3:14:44 PM Report

They have to stop selling our water.
stiJJy 2/9/2013 3:49:25 PM Report

Who says it's our water? More than half of the great lakes belong to the Americans.
jojoe71 2/10/2013 12:06:23 AM Report

If I had to vote for the best response....the winner is.....Riverpilot....sounds like the only one that speaks from experience and common sense. Unlike the rest.
IB-fine 2/11/2013 12:05:25 PM Report

Thanks for the information and voice of reason Riverpilot!
I am surprised with Lake St. Clair having issues that there isn't a control dam there already.
With a dam controlling the flow of water into Lake St. Clair, it would solve it's issues as well as put the levels in Lake Huron back to near normal.
Waiting to see if all this snow this year helps the larger lakes or not....
stiJJy 2/12/2013 2:31:02 PM Report

jojoe, that's pretty common knowledge actually.
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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