Great Lakes' Lower Water Levels Not Linked to Erosion

After reviewing video images from the St. Clair River bed, a U.S.-Canadian advisory group stated that no evidence has been found to conclude that erosion is causing water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron to drop.

The International Upper Great Lakes Study (IUGLS) stated that the findings are preliminary and that more work involving sediment transport measurements and sediment models are planned, along with additional video observations in the river. The findings were released recently in a progress report highlighting research projects on low water levels in the Upper Great Lakes and possible physical changes in the St. Clair River.

"The urgency of low water levels has put the study on the fast track," said Gene Stakhiv, U.S. co-chairman of IUGLS. "However, it is critical that the study complete a comprehensive scientific analysis of all the key factors before discussing possible remedial actions in the St. Clair River."

The progress report was released just two weeks after the International Joint Commission approved plans to expedite the study on water levels in the Great Lakes and to provide recommendations a full year ahead of schedule. The next semiannual IUGLS progress report is scheduled to be released in April 2008; however additional information and findings may be released as research projects are completed.

The International Joint Commission appointed IUGLS in February 2007 to examine whether the regulation of Lake Superior outflows can be improved to address the evolving needs of the Upper Great Lakes. For more information on the progress report, contact the IUGLS at

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