Action Urged on Falling Lake Levels

MILWAUKEE, March 23 (UPI) — People who live and work near Lake Michigan are urging the United States and Canada to take action on falling water levels resulting from years of dredging.

They are urging the two governments to consider building water-throttling structures on the St. Clair River, the main outflow of both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday.

Dredging on the river in the 1800s caused unexpected erosion and led to a 16-inch drop in the level of both lakes. Additional dredging by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1962 has caused a further drop of 3 to 5 inches, the newspaper said.

The International Joint Commission, which oversees U.S. and Canadian boundary water issues, released a study in December that confirmed the most recent drop in levels but said the problem was not large enough to require immediate action.

Opponents of the study disagree.

“The study, even though it is well intentioned, is not dealing with the major problem, which is lake levels on Huron and Michigan,” retired marina operator Frank Forkert said. “Something has to be done, it’s hurting us,”

“This study on the St. Clair tells us — and tells the whole world — that the lake levels are down and it’s about time we did something about it,” Forkert said.

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