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Old 03-25-2013, 09:41 AM   #1
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Trouble on the Great Lakes, water levels

This will be of interest to all of you boaters living on the Great Lakes and time well spent for loopers. I have attached a link for a tv show which was recently done on the Great Lakes water levels. It speaks of water levels and particularly on Lakes Huron, Georgian Bay, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior as being at or below all time lows. Also shows some pictures of the effects. For boaters the real effect is to be vigilant in knowing where you are and that charts even if up to date may give you a false indication of actual water levels since records are being broken. For loopers this will not be a problem until exiting the Trent Severn waterway in Georgian Bay. This area can be tricky at the best of time because it is all rock, but now it is even more important to stay within the known channels and make sure you talk with locals, marinas etc. along the way this summer. For those on the coast this is like being at low tide all the time. May be of interest, it's about a half hour program.

Trouble on the Great Lakes | TVO Main
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:30 AM   #2
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hidden problem

The worst hit is actually Erie. A few weeks ago we were showing 17" below same time last year. Last year, late season levels were so low already that it was touch and go for me to enter several preferred spots. ( fairly important spots like my home marina) No sense begging for trouble. For safety, I decided to switch marinas this summer.
Not everybody has figured this out yet. I suspect there may be a bit of slip juggling and a scramble for deep water slips when people wake up. I just hope I can pick a good day in the early season to be able to exit my old marina or else I am going to be a non boater this summer.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:51 AM   #3
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The worst hit is actually Erie. A few weeks ago we were showing 17" below same time last year. Last year, late season levels were so low already that it was touch and go for me to enter several preferred spots. ( fairly important spots like my home marina) No sense begging for trouble. For safety, I decided to switch marinas this summer.
Not everybody has figured this out yet. I suspect there may be a bit of slip juggling and a scramble for deep water slips when people wake up. I just hope I can pick a good day in the early season to be able to exit my old marina or else I am going to be a non boater this summer.
What marina are you in, and are you on Lake Erie??
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:03 AM   #4
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location

Bing Maps - Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions
Not sure if this works but worth a try - Should show S/E of Fighting Island on the Canadian side of Detroit River
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:09 AM   #5
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Bing Maps - Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions
Not sure if this works but worth a try - Should show S/E of Fighting Island on the Canadian side of Detroit River
I know exactly where you are, I was born in Windsor and have spent many memorable moments boating and fishing the area. We were at the Windsor Yacht club in the fall and people in small boats were standing on the gunwales to get onto the dock.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:35 AM   #6
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It is actually worse when you go downstream as the lower level of Erie sucks down the river. This is especially true during a west wind (which is the most common) As you can see I have several hundred yards of very low water to pass over before getting into the Marina. I feel most sorry for some of the Marinas on the US side at the west end of Erie. My favourite Club is at Swan and I do not think I will be able to go there this year.
BTW - love the Trent - been through four times
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:29 PM   #7
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It is actually worse when you go downstream as the lower level of Erie sucks down the river. This is especially true during a west wind (which is the most common) As you can see I have several hundred yards of very low water to pass over before getting into the Marina. I feel most sorry for some of the Marinas on the US side at the west end of Erie. My favourite Club is at Swan and I do not think I will be able to go there this year.
BTW - love the Trent - been through four times

A large contributer to the problem on the upper Lakes is the massive outflow in the Detroit area where decades of dredging in the channel have widened and deepened the natural flow to Erie. Increased pumping for fresh water supplies by cities along Lake Michigan have only worsened the evaporation and low rainfall problem. I just read where the State of Michigan is about to approve an emergency dredging fund for those small towns that rely on boating for tourist dollars. There has also been discussion about the Corps squeezing the flow into Erie.
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:49 PM   #8
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A large contributer to the problem on the upper Lakes is the massive outflow in the Detroit area where decades of dredging in the channel have widened and deepened the natural flow to Erie. Increased pumping for fresh water supplies by cities along Lake Michigan have only worsened the evaporation and low rainfall problem. I just read where the State of Michigan is about to approve an emergency dredging fund for those small towns that rely on boating for tourist dollars. There has also been discussion about the Corps squeezing the flow into Erie.
The only easy answer is more rain, but that would ruin the boating!
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:05 PM   #9
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the eye of the beholder

Skidgear

"A large contributor to the problem on the upper Lakes is the massive outflow in the Detroit area where decades of dredging in the channel have widened and deepened the natural flow to Erie."

It depends on your perspective. The folks around Georgian Bay agree that dredging is the problem but want underwater current speed bumps in the St Clair River.

I guess if you were in Lake Erie you might say that Hydro is bypassing too much volume at Niagara Falls

Myself- I dunno - I just have to get out while the getting is good
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:20 PM   #10
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The only easy answer is more rain, but that would ruin the boating!
Or more snow....massive amounts of snow...then dry sunny summers.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:33 PM   #11
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Stop that snow business! I am still under more than a foot of snow on my yard and have had to use the blower five times this year. Besides all that snow won't help as I am on the Hudson Bay watershed.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:19 PM   #12
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The North Shore of Superior has a pretty good snow pack as of now.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:31 PM   #13
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The problem I am grappling with is that I have to make a decision now - not mid summer or after the melt - signs are good but the starting point is so low that I cannot take a chance.

BTW if you look at the diagram I posted , the north shore of Superior is a minor element in the watershed. Much more important is the midwest
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:28 PM   #14
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We lake Erie Boaters have heard the tales of the Lake drying up for years, and yes, strong winds do, in fact, cause what we call the "Lake Erie Tides" - up to eight foot changes in lake levels caused by the wind pushing the water to one end or the other.

Once you get out on the lake, there's never a problem with enough water although it can be unsettling to watch the depth finder when you're in a good sized boat.

The biggest problem facing Western Lake Erie boaters is that many of the marinas have harbor entrance channels that require dredging, because mud flows off the land that makes the food you eat. Between the environmentalists, the inept core of Engineers, and all the inter agency turf battles dredging the entrance to any marina has turned into a massive, complicated ordeal that the marina operators and the slip owners can hardly afford anymore.

The big expensive Marinas (such as Toledo Beach) dredge every year, as they own the entire channel, and there are plenty of 70 foot boats in there drawing eight feet and more. The rest of us live a different life.

At our marina, the entrance channel fills up because the Army Engineers ran out of money before they finished it, as they can't properly estimate anything. Part of the channel belongs to the marina, part of it belongs to the state, and part of it belongs to the feds. The last time we tried to dredge it, after getting all three bodies to agree to the process (a 2 year battle) the environmentalists shut it down because the fish were mating the week we were trying to dredge.

So before you blame global warming, the farmers stealing the water, the drought, the lack of snow, and so forth don't forget bureaucratic ineptitude... combined with passionate, good intentions people who would destroy your boating pleasure so fish can f***. Seriously.
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