Traverse City Record-Eagle

Other Views

February 19, 2013

Another View: Low water needs fix

Low water needs fix

These are the explanations most commonly heard pertaining to the historic-low water levels in the Lakes Michigan-Huron system.

While these may be contributing factors, a report recently released by the Georgian Bay Association indicates the decline in water levels is tied to a hole in the St. Clair River caused by river bed mining near Port Huron.

More than 2 billion gallons of water per day is being hemorrhaged out of the Lakes Michigan-Huron system, eventually making its way to the Atlantic Ocean. The report cites that this is more than triple what was originally believed, and the problem is far more serious than first thought.

Why don’t more people know about this problem? When recently asked at a Michigan Press Association meeting about what he plans to do about low water levels, Gov. Rick Snyder points to more dredging. There was no mention of the drainage hole at all — none!

Why is this? Certainly he must be aware of a situation of such magnitude.

Experts indicate fixing the hole comes with a huge price tag — in the billions of dollars. We argue that not fixing the hole comes at an even greater cost.

The economic impact of this will hit us in a variety of ways — including the boating and fishing industry, drastically declining property values along the Lakeshore, and adverse effects on the shipping industry. This doesn’t even take into consideration the very long-term ecological impact declining water levels have on the area.

It’s time that state, regional, federal and Canadian governmental leaders to sit down with the Army Corps of Engineers and find a resolution to this very sensitive issue.

Time is not on our side. We can’t afford to wait for a long-term study to be implemented, and allow this to get caught up in the bureaucratic quicksand that is often the norm.

Our Great Lakes are a precious resource that we must protect, and the time is now to do so!

Grand Haven Tribune

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