View Full Version : Great Lakes Becoming Less So

05-15-2013, 11:23 AM

Sailing Magazine's Erin Schanen posted the following entry this AM:

"How low can the Great Lakes go? Sailors are having to resort to some interesting measures on Lakes Michigan and Huron which are suffering from historic low water levels. This Great Lakes 70 will be launched on a bed of air bags to float her high enough to get her in the water in the Travelift slip. Other boatowners had to find different storage for the winter with access to water deep enough to launch in and still others are having to delay launch waiting for the water to come up so they can get to marina slips. "


While us on the West Coast deal with rising and lowering tides and floods as primary concerns, the idea that our primary waterway slow backing away from the shoreline and leaving us high and dry doesn't really fathom.


Lake Level Data (http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/data/now/wlevels/levels.html)

But the Great lakes have hit historic lows recently, 18" below chart datum, a trend that has been ongoing since 1990. And while there are cycles of water levels including years when the lakes have exceeded capacity, the latest cycle is leaving many boat owners high and dry. " The marinas are feeling it big time" says Erin "And many owners are scrambling to find out of the way access to the few deep water spots, mostly along the river. When Evolution, the GL 70 was pulled last fall, they had mud 19" high on their keel, so they are taking a proactive measure just to launch later this week"


While nature may be partly to blame, and global warming taking a sizable chunk of that, another man made product is also part and parcel in root cause. Dredging of the St Clair River (http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/pressure-mounts-to-restore-great-lakes-water-levels-f76ug5a-170854881.html)

While many a boat owner await for the waters to rise so they can launch their boats,
now that the weather has turned, Erin note that the Mac Races should feel little effect as the waters at Mackinac Island and the harbor still have enough water for even the bigger boats!

Prince of Whales
05-15-2013, 01:21 PM
Had no idea.

05-17-2013, 07:35 PM
St Ignace, Sheplers dock at Mackinaw City, and the Mackinac Island harbor have all had dredging done, with the Island getting additional dredging via private funds raised by Island businesses. The water levels are a bummer here, but some very dedicated and generous people have worked very hard to make a difference. BYC took full opportunity of the currently relaxed dredging regulations to dredge our wells as much as possible this spring.

El Capitan
05-20-2013, 10:15 PM
How much sediment has settled into the local beaches and harbors?