Record Number of People Hear Updates on Lake Superior Regulation, Expected Water Levels

IJC staff
September 10, 2013

The International Lake Superior Board of Control hosted its annual public meeting and teleconference on the afternoon of Aug. 21.  A new webinar/teleconference format was employed. A record number of people – 77 - were in attendance. Participants included members of the public, media, government officials, IJC Commissioner Dereth Glance, Board members, staff, and associates.

The Board's U.S. Alternate Member, Col. Bob Peterson, presented information describing the IJC, the Board, the control structures at Sault Ste. Marie, the current Regulation Plan (1977-A), and the current and expected water levels of the upper Great Lakes.  

Commissioner Glance spoke regarding the approval and implementation of proposed Regulation Plan 2012. The meeting was opened for public comment, questions, and concerns, with Col. Peterson chairing. The slide presentation shown during the webinar also was made available online to callers beforehand on the Board's new website, and callers were able to interact with the chairman and other participants during the event.

A slide from the Aug. 21 presentation to the public.
A slide from the Aug. 21 presentation to the public.

Stakeholders on Michigan-Huron and Lake Superior both voiced concerns about how the current regulation plan balances the levels of their respective lake, with citizens on Superior concerned over recent gate openings and citizens on Michigan-Huron concerned over the consistent below-average releases over the past decade.

One attendee wished to know how this balance has been impacted by Criterion (c) limitations in recent times.  Criterion (c), part of the current regulation plan, limits Lake Superior's outflow to no more than natural or "pre-project" values when its level is less than 183.4 meters.  

Therefore, it impacts the balancing mechanism within the plan by limiting the water released to Lake Michigan-Huron.

Some participants also remain concerned about potential water level impacts due to climate change and variability.  There remains significant trepidation surrounding the expected performance of proposed Regulation Plan 2012.  Several people continued to express disappointment that the International Upper Great Lakes Study did not recommend structures in the St. Clair River to restore upstream water levels.

The IJC has since recommended that the governments of Canada and the United States investigate flexible structural options to restore water levels in Lake Michigan-Huron.

There were mixed emotions expressed about the timing of the event during the day (3-5 p.m.).  Some like the idea of being able to participate from work, while others indicated they weren't able to participate during work hours.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this. The date of the next meeting with the public will be set by the Board at its spring 2014 business meeting in March. You can contact board secretaries Robert Caldwell or John Kangas with your comments.

The Board also continues to issue, at the beginning of each month, news releases informing the public about Lake Superior regulation and upper Great Lakes water level conditions.  The Board also provides monthly media releases and hydrologic update information to the Commission and maintains a Board website.  A new site format was launched in August.

Comments on the new site also are appreciated. Content includes information on Board members and responsibilities as well as news releases, semi-annual reports, meeting minutes, Plan comparisons, regulation updates, and hydrologic data summaries.  The Board may soon launch a Facebook page to help facilitate communication with you through social networking. The IJC Facebook page can be found here.

IJC staff