International Joint Commission to Investigate Great Lakes' Water Loss


In response to concerns from U.S. and Canadian policy makers that the Great Lakes have sprung a giant leak, the International Joint Commission (IJC) announced recently it will conduct an investigation into whether erosion from dredging caused water levels in lakes Huron and Michigan to decline to near-record lows.

The IJC study's first phase will involve an examination of whether possible dredging conducted decades ago in the St. Clair River may be responsible for changes in water levels. The dredging could have resulted in accelerated erosion, causing the water loss.

The researchers will try to understand the impact of climate change on lake levels and how regulation of the lakes must take into consideration less precipitation, higher air and water temperatures, reduced ice cover and more evaporation.

"People who fish, boat and swim in the Upper Great Lakes and industries that depend on the lakes for shipping must play a critical role in the study," said Irene Brooks, acting U.S. chairperson of the IJC.

IJC is an independent body established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to prevent and resolve disputes over the use of waters shared by the United States and Canada. For more information, contact IJC at http://www.ijc.org.

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