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WATER LEVELS

March 9, 2018 - WATER LEVELS CONTINUE HIGHER THAN LAST YEAR

Water levels in Michigan-Huron softened a little this week but are still 9 inches higher than this time last year, 18 inches above long term average and 29 inches over chart datum. Levels are 14 inches below our long time high set in 1986 but 46 inches above record low recorded in 1964. Levels are expected to rise two inches over the next month.

Water Level Michigan-Huron March 9, 2018

February 9, 2018 - WATER LEVELS FLAT THIS WEEK

Water levels in Michigan-Huron were flat again this week compared to a week ago. Levels are 10 inches higher than this time last year, 18 inches above long term average and 28 inches over chart datum. Levels are 15 inches below our long time high set in 1986 but 45 inches above record low recorded in 1964. Levels are expected to remain the same over the next month.

With the prolonged cold snap we have experienced recently, ice cover on of all of the Great Lakes has crept up to its long term average of 55%.

Water Level Michigan-Huron February 9, 2018

January 19, 2018 - WATER LEVELS DOWN A LITTLE

Water levels in Michigan-Huron were down a little again this week compared to a week ago. Levels are 10 inches higher than this time last year, 17 inches above long term average and 27 inches over chart datum. Levels are 18 inches below our long time high set in 1986 but 45 inches above record low recorded in 2013. Levels are expected to decline 1 inch over the next month.

Water Level Michigan-Huron January 19, 2018

December 22, 2017 - WATER LEVELS STILL FLAT

Water levels in Michigan-Huron were flat this week compared to a week ago. Levels are 12 inches higher than this time last year, 18 inches above long term average and 30 inches over chart datum. Levels are 19 inches below our long time high set in 1986 but 46 inches above record low recorded in 2012. Levels are expected to decline 2 inches over the next month.

Water Level Michigan-Huron December 22, 2017

November 24, 2017 - WATER LEVELS FLAT THIS WEEK

Attached below is the US Army Corps of Engineers report on water levels for this week.Water levels in Michigan-Huron were flat again this week compared with last week bucking the seasonal norm of dropping off at this time of year. This was in response to another significant rain event in the upper Ohio valley. Levels are now 12 inches higher than this time last year, 18 inches above long term average and 32 inches over chart datum. Levels are 21 inches below our long time high set in 1986 but 47 inches above our long time low recorded in 1964. Levels are expected to decline 2 inches over the next month.

Water Level Michigan-Huron November 24, 2017

October 27, 2017 - RAIN CAUSES UNUSUAL RISE

Attached below is the US Army Corps of Engineers report on water levels for this week. Major rain in the Michigan watershed (5+ inches) this week caused an unusual rise in water levels on the middle Great Lakes. They are now 9 inches higher than this time last year, 19 inches above long term average and 35 inches over chart datum. Levels are 24 inches below our long time high set in 1986 but 47 inches above our long time low recorded in 1964. Levels are expected to decline 2 inches over the next month.

Water Level Michigan-Huron October 27, 2017

September 15, 2017 - SEASONAL DROP CONTINUES

Attached below is the US Army Corps of Engineers report on water levels for this week. Levels on Michigan-Huron continued their seasonal drop this week. They are 6 inches higher than this time last year, 17 inches above long term average and 35 inches over chart datum. Levels are 18 inches below our long time high set in 1986 but 46 inches above our long time low recorded in 1964. Levels are expected to decline 2 inches over the next month.

Water Level Michigan-Huron September 15, 2017

August 18, 2017 - WATER LEVELS FLAT THIS WEEK

Attached below is the US Army Corps of Engineers report on water levels for this week. Levels on Michigan-Huron remain flat this past week. They are 7 inches higher than this time last year, 18 inches above long term average and 39 inches over chart datum. Levels are expected to decline 2 inches over the next month.

Water Level Michigan-Huron August 18, 2017

July 21, 2017 - ONE INCH DECLINE EXPECTED OVER NEXT MONTH

Attached below is the US Army Corps of Engineers report on water levels for this week. Levels on Michigan-Huron are 6 inches higher than this time last year, 17 inches above long term average and 39 inches over chart datum. Levels are expected to decline 1 inch over the next month.

Water Level Michigan-Huron July 21, 2017

June 9, 2017 - WATER LEVELS FLAT THIS WEEK

Attached below are last week's water level summaries from the US Army Corps of Engineers. Water levels in Michigan-Huron were flat this week. They are currently level with this time last year, 32 inches above Chart Datum and 12 inches above long-term average for this time of year. The Corps of Engineers predict that levels in Michigan-Huron will rise by 2 inches over the next 30 days.

Water Level Michigan-Huron June 9, 2017

May 12, 2017 - LEVELS FLAT THIS WEEK

Attached below are this week's water level summaries from the US Army Corps of Engineers. Water levels in Michigan-Huron were flat this week. They continue to be 1 inch below the level at this time last year, 30 inches above Chart Datum and 12 inches above long term average for this time of year. The Corps of Engineers predicts that levels in Michigan-Huron will rise 3 inches over the next 30 days. .

Water Level Michigan-Huron May 12, 2017

March 10, 2017 - LEVELS SLIGHTLY ABOVE CHART DATUM

Water levels in Michigan-Huron rose again this week and are now 1 inch below the level at this time last year, 21 inches above Chart Datum and 10 inches above long term average for this time of year. The Corps of Engineers is predicting that water levels in July will be pretty close to those we experienced last summer. The Corps of Engineers predict that levels in Michigan-Huron will rise 2 inches over the next 30 days.

Water Level Michigan-Huron Mar 10, 2017

March 5, 2017 - TRUMP TO CUT FUNDING TO EPA GREAT LAKES INITIATIVES BY 97%

A note from GBA Execcutive Director, Bob Duncanson:

"The following news release was just issued [about the cuts], http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/03/trump_great_lakes_epa_cuts.html. As you will read in the article this issue is not as black and white as it seems. Last December Congress authorized the continued funding of the Great Lakes Clean Up Fund until 2021 at the $300 million per year level. According to the article this would means that Congress could override Trump's budget in this regard. There are a lot of Republican politicians in the Great Lakes Basin that support the $300 million per year program (after all it delivers good jobs to their States!). This will be a drawn out battle that Trump may not win."

January, 2017 - UPDATE FROM JERRY SMITKA

I trust that everyone enjoyed the higher water levels of the summer of 2016. It was a joy knowing that my propeller would be intact for the entire summer.

We were told that the winter of 2016/17 would be the winter of La Nina and we should expect a more traditional cold and snowy period. Well it hasn't! The warm fall and early winter brought a mild January. The general lack of ice on all of the Great Lakes, a mere 13% in mid-January, could equate to lower water levels of 15 cm (6 in) or more than 2016. These conditions result in a loss of large amounts of water through evaporation. The impacts of our winter will show up during the 2017 summer months. The higher water levels of 2016 will not be enjoyed in 2017 unless we see a rapid change in weather patterns to greater cyclonic winter snows and cold. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Cold too please!

At the 2016 AGM the Board approved a $2,000 donation to the Sierra Club for the Great Lakes Project-Rob Nairn Water Levels Study. Water level updates will be on our website and FB page from time to time so stay tuned.

Nov 30, 2016 - EARLY WINTER WEATHER FORECAST

The Environmental Visualization Lab of NOAA (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) reports that the temperatures of the Great Lakes are the warmest they've been since at least 2010 for this late in the month of November. Extra warm Great Lakes could mean later freezing, and heavy lake effect snows. See:

NOAA: Waters of the Great Lakes Warm for Later November

Nov 25, 2016 - WATER LEVEL SUMMARIES

Source US Army Corps of Engineers

The continued dry fall in the Great Lakes Basin is starting to have significant impact on water levels. Levels in Michigan-Huron are flat compared with this time last year, 20 inches above Chart Datum and 6 inches above long term average for this time of year.

The Corps of Engineers predict that levels in Michigan-Huron will decline 2 inches over the next 30 days.

Nov 4, 2016 - WATER LEVEL SUMMARIES

Source US Army Corps of Engineers

Water levels in Huron-Michigan continued their seasonal drop this week. Levels in Michigan-Huron are 3 inches higher than this time last year, 24 inches above Chart Datum and 10 inches above long term average for this time of year. The Corps of Engineers predict that levels in Michigan-Huron will decline 2 inches over the next 30 days.

Oct 28, 2016 - WATER LEVEL SUMMARIES

Source US Army Corps of Engineers

Water levels in Huron-Michigan were flat this week thanks to a rainy week. The Great Lakes Basin as a whole has received 112% of its average rainfall, with the Upper Great Lakes Basin (Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron) receiving the most. Levels in Michigan-Huron are 6 inches higher than this time last year, 27 inches above Chart Datum and 11 inches above long term average for this time of year.

The Corps of Engineers predict that levels in Michigan-Huron will decline 3 inches over the next 30 days.

JULY 31, 2016 - WATER LEVELS UPDATE

June 2016 water levels touched 176.86 m. This is about 10 cm higher than last summer. The answer to “why is this happening in a year of drought?” is that the Lake Superior watershed has been experiencing over 100% precipitation for most of the year.

The erosion of the St. Clair River riverbed increases conveyance in the flow. There is an additional 2.5 billion gallons per day of flow. If that amount of water cannot be found then water levels will begin to fall. Warmer water conditions, increased evaporation, lesser precipitation and climate change in general will reduce water levels.

The USACE (United States Army Corps of Engineers) has recently completed a depth analysis study of the St. Clair River. This study will help answer whether the erosion of the riverbed is increasing, decreasing or is relatively stable. An increase in erosion will likely force governments to react and remedy the issue. Stay tuned.

The forecast for the fall is that warmer water temperatures will prevail. If it continues then the end result could be less ice coverage and increased evaporation during the winter yielding lower water levels in 2017. This negative effect could easily be offset by increased precipitation as witnessed through the Lake Superior watershed. Let's hope for a real winter.

In support of the above, the Great Lakes Project (GLP) team from the Sierra Club Canada wishes to hire Rob Nairn from the famous 2003 Baird Report. He is prepared to analyze the Michigan/Huron data to help predict future water levels. The Report will cost $20,000 and will be published in the scientific literature. GLP is requesting donations from individuals. The KRAA general membership elected to contribute $2,000 to this project at the 2016 AGM.

APRIL 4, 2016 - FEDERAL BUDGET FUNDING SUPPORT FOR UPPER GREAT LAKES

The Federal government via the Morneau budget has approved funding that will allow the IJC to move forward on the IJC's earlier recommendations to undertake further investigations on structural options on the St. Clair River.  Yes, water levels are higher but there are predictions that we are at or near the high point of a water level cycle and that water levels will begin a decline that will last many years. It is hoped that structural changes will help to mitigate future low water levels. See:

MARCH 6, 2015 - WATER LEVELS REPORT FROM GBA ED, BOB DUNCANSON

Attached below are this week's water level summaries from the US Army Corps of Engineers. Their full report can be found here.

Water levels in Michigan-Huron are still holding steady and are currently 21 inches above this time last year, 18 inches above Chart Datum and still 8 inches above long term average for this time of year.

Attached below the following charts is a satellite picture of Georgian Bay taken on Mar 5th showing Georgian Bay ice coverage at 100%. Hence the retention of water in the Bay.

The Corps of Engineers predict that levels in Michigan-Huron will rise 2 inches over the next 30 days.  

We will continue to press for action as the time for any alterations in connecting channels is when there is a surplus of water in the system and less concern from downstream interests.

Bob

 

 

 

NASA Photo of Georgian Bay Mar 5 2015
Source: NASA

NOVEMBER 8, 2013 - WATER LEVELS REPORT FROM GBA

Hello all,

Attached below are this week's water level summaries from the US Army Corps of Engineers. Their full report can be found at US Army Corps of Engineers Water Levels Forecast.

All of the Great Lakes received above average precipitation in October. Thanks to this water levels in Lakes Michigan-Huron (of which Georgian Bay is part) are considerably higher this year compared with last year and only declined 1 inch in the month of October. Levels in Michigan-Huron are 11 inches ahead of this date last year.

However, Michigan-Huron levels continue to underperform the other lakes. Michigan-Huron are the only lakes below Chart Datum with levels 15 inches below long term average.

We will continue to press for action to address what is clearly a Middle Lakes challenge.

— Bob Duncanson, GBA Executive Director

June 19, 2013 - COST IMPACT OF LOW WATER

This spring, a number of directors submitted a cost impact on the effects of low water on our area to the Municipality of Killarney. Here are both the KRAA's submission and the final copy of the Mayors' Report.

Also, new and related to this topic, the Canadian government has appointed new commissioners to the IJC. The following summary from Bob Duncanson, executive director of the GBA, has all the details:

"Over the weekend we learned that the Government of Canada has appointed two new Commissioners to the International Joint Commission. While there hasn't been an official press release from either the government or the IJC the appointments have been posted on the Government of Canada's Governor in Council web site at the following address;
http://www.appointments-nominations.gc.ca/prflOrg.asp?lang=eng&OrgID=IJC

The two new Commissioners are Gordon Walker from Toronto and Benoît Bouchard from Roberval Quebec. Commissioner Bouchard was a Mulroney era Cabinet Minister. Commissioner Walker was a Provincial Cabinet Minister in the Mike Harris and the Frank Miller governments and served as an IJC Commissioner from 1992-95. More importantly Gord is a Cognashene cottager and is well known to a number of us including me.

In discussing this news with several GBA Executive we think that it is significant that the government chose a Commissioner with clear ties to Georgian Bay. As John points out appointing a second Commissioner from Ontario breaks with the tradition of having one Commissioner from the west, one from Ontario and one from Quebec.

Craig and I have each had a few occasions in the recent past to speak with Gord on the water levels issue. He is very supportive of GBA's efforts to get and keep this issue on the Federal agenda. I know that Gord has some very specific thoughts on water levels based in part on his past experience with the IJC. I believe that he will bring some strong leadership to the IJC on this and other issues."

- Bob Duncanson, GBA

May 21, 2013 - LAKES MICHIGAN & HURON WATER LEVEL FORECAST, 2013

The unprecedented rise of our water level following setting a new all-time low in January of this year has been truly amazing. Water levels have risen at a rate of about 0.5 cm per day. And no one forecast the rapid rise. It caught seasoned hydrologists totally off guard. The rapid rise was as a result of the accumulated snow pack and the heavy rains this spring. We truly were lucky to have dodged a bullet, at least for the time being. Apparently, during April we received 180% of our average total amount of precipitation.

I think that everyone has been hoping that the rise will not end. However, the forecast has the peak this year at just over 176.0 metres above sea level in late July. The water level is currently at 175.93 metres above sea level. So expect about another 10 cm.

In a nut shell, we are not out of the woods.

— Jerry Smitka

May 17, 2013 - IMPORTANT NOTICE RE KEY RIVER CHANNEL

Please use extra caution navigating the channel this Victoria Day weekend as some buoys in the channel are missing or out of position and the water is still quite low. Here are the known issues with the channel (from east to west as you travel down river). This list, while it is correct to the best of our knowledge, may not be complete. Please be alert and exercise caution:

  • The red buoy at Crash Island is missing but a temporary marker is in place.
  • A red buoy at the east end of Beaver Creek is missing (just past Key Club).
  • The green & red buoys just west of the above are out of alignment.
  • The green buoy directly across from the beaver hut in Beaver Creek is missing
  • The green and red at the east end of Muskrat Bay/west end of Beaver Creek are out of alignment.

Have a safe and happy Victoria Day weekend!

May 1, 2013 - The Ice is Out, IJC Recommendations and GBA Primers

THE ICE IS OUT! - The ice in Key River went out around April 22nd - a little on the late side - and people are out and about on the river. The water level is still low but not as bad as it was through the late fall and winter. All the spring run-off and rain has helped bring the water levels up to those of early last fall. However, with the incredible spring run-off and some very strong currents, three buoys are missing in the river and a few have moved.

Due to the combination of low water and missing aids to navigation, please use caution navigating the river - especially around the usual tricky spots, like McKinney's narrows. One of the missing buoys is the single red one at Crash Island – so until it's replaced, stay close to the point because of the Crash Island shoal.

Lake Michigan-Huron Mean Lake Level

IJC RECOMMENDATIONS RELEASED - Last Friday, the International Joint Commission published its recommendations to Canadian & US governments on what to do about Great Lakes water levels. The good news for those on Georgian Bay is the IJC's recommendation to investigate ways to restore water levels in Lakes Michigan & Huron, especially as a result of St. Clair River dredging. However, Lana Pollack, U.S. chair of the Commission, chose not to sign the Commission letter saying it doesn't go far enough in recommending action on climate change.

Tony Clement, MP's office has already released the following response:

Tony Clement Response to IJC Findings and Recommendations

Restore Our Water International released the following:

Restore Our Water International's Response to IJC Findings and Recommendations

GBA PRIMERS ON WATER ACCESS & BUOYS - The Georgian Bay Association has worked with various levels of government to provide a streamlined process for applications for blasting and dredging for those who need it to maintain access to their properties. They have prepare these primers on dock relocation/extension and buoys placement to update people on their findings.

GBA Primer on Water Access
GBA Primer on Buoys

February 24, 2013 - Letter from Great Lakes Mayors to Obama & Harper

The link, below, is a letter from the Great Lakes Mayors to the two Federal Governments calling for action on water levels. It is nice to read such strong language from across the Great Lakes with a specific mention of Georgian Bay.

Letter from Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Cities Initiative to President Obama and Prime Minister Harper

February 4, 2013 - All-time record for low water level for Michigan-Huron broken

We have officially broken the all-time monthly low water record for Michigan Huron in January 2013. The level dipped 1 cm below the record of 175.58 m established in March of 1964. The 175.57 m figure sits 2 cm below the January 1964 mark of 175.59 m so we are set to drop further. I hope that the above isn't too confusing.

We have two more months that we can still go lower. So folks, we are not finished yet for this winter. The average increase during the spring and summer is about 14 in (35 cm) but last year the increase was only 4 in. (10 cm) do to the ongoing drought.

— Jerry Smitka

January 22, 2013 - More water levels in the media

Email update from the GBA:

"Dear Presidents,

Following the release of the GBA Water Levels Action Plan about a week ago and Bob's interview by CTV's Tom Clark on "West Block", we are getting more attention from the media and very positive feedback from many corners.

Bob has again been interviewed on the water levels issue, this time by CBC International News - Go to the following link for details http://www.rcinet.ca/english/daily/interviews-2012/12-14_2013-01-21-grave-concern-of-low-great-lakes-water-levels/

The other is an interview with CTV's  Don Martin which airs tonight on "Power Play" at 5:00pm EST and again at 8:00pm EST. On Bell, Power Play is seen on stations 1562 (HD) and 501.

Although it is not much notice, I encourage you to watch tonight's edition and share both of these media events with your associations.

Best regards,
Craig

p.s. I do not take credit for the photo of Picnic Island that was credited to me in the CBC news piece. Apologies to the photographer."

January 19, 2013 - Interview with Bob Duncanson, Executive Director of GBA, airs Sunday, January 20, 2013 @ 11:00

Following the release of the GBA's Water Levels Action Plan earlier this week, Bob Duncanson, Executive Director, has been interviewed by Global TV's Tom Clark on his "West Block" political affairs program. You can catch the interview this Sunday morning at 11:00. Bob is an excellent ambassador for GBA and we are fortunate that he is so well connected to various politicians and members of the media.

Low WaterJanuary 9, 2013 - At record low!

We are now sitting on the all time low level record of 175.58 meters above sea level. Actually, we have already dipped below that mark yesterday. A whole month's average will be required below 175.58 before a new all time low is recognized. And believe me, the record will be broken.

Expect to hear an announcement from the IJC in the next few days or weeks with respect to their recommendation to the Study Board's report and recommendations. Sierra Club Ontario's water level committee is hoping that the IJC will request the Study Board for some additional information with respect to options of increasing water levels. The Study Board will then have until May 2013 to provide the information.

If you haven't yet signed the Whitehouse petition (http://1.usa.gov/UFbhiI), please find some time to get it done (deadline January 10th). And please provide a gently reminder to other Georgian Bay, Lake Huron or Lake Michigan property owners to do the same.

I will pass along any important information as quickly as I can.

— Jerry Smitka

December 2012 - Update to Membership

Dear Members,

The KRAA Board wish to bring you an update of water levels in Georgian Bay, especially that of the Key River, our transportation route to our properties.  Unfortunately, water levels continue to decline at a rather alarming rate.  Since early September levels have dropped more than 30 cm (1 foot).  The critical area lies between Beaver Creek (Key Club) and the mouth of the river.  Although access is still possible with very small boats and motors, it is approaching the point where inaccessibility might be a distinct possibility at some point next year.  Engineering analysis indicates that the decline will continue through the winter period.  How far it will drop will depend upon when freeze-up occurs and the amount of rain and snowfall the area receives over the next few months. 

Since this is uncharted territory for our area and has implications for access in the spring, the KRAA board is watching this situation very closely.  Specifically, we are in touch with the Municipality of Killarney, making them aware of our situation and working with them to assess and consider ways to mitigate the impact.  We are also actively communicating with the GBA and Sierra Club Ontario, staying apprised of their progress in lobbying government.

As the winter progresses we will know more about the impact and likelihood of various outcomes.  Look for a report in the winter newsletter. 

Visit our website at http://www.kraa.ca often.  The site will be updated frequently.  
If you wish to track current and future water levels, the link to Environment Canada and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers water levels website is http://www.ec.gc.ca/eau-water/default.asp?lang=En&n=79962112-1

And this is how you can help.  Continue to write letters to your municipal, provincial, state and federal government politicians.  Send along recent photos of the Key and any pertinent information on the subject for our website and newsletter to Jennifer Spiess at jennifer@spiess.ca and OJ Grolman at oj@grolor.ca.

The Board

November 2012 -

Water levels in the area of the Key River are at historical lows. Please use caution navigating in the area, especially during/after northerly or easterly winds.

To understand more about why water levels in the area are so low and what is being done at various levels, see the links provided in the sidebar.

 

 

 

Current and forecasted water levels

Why are water levels what they are?

What can you do about it?