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High potential for more Great Lakes flooding

Discussion in 'YachtForums Yacht Club' started by Capt Ralph, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    US Army Corps of Engineers data reveals near-record November water levels when they should be at their lowest point of the season.

    I am so confused. Were we knot just reading a couple of years ago record lows in the GLs?
    Now record highs? FM..

    Can they regulate the levels with the gates and locks?
  2. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Open those suckers up and flush the A Carp back down stream...

    I am here to help, just nobody ever asks....
  3. Rodger

    Rodger Senior Member

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    Shipping industry leaders urge against flood relief on Lake Ontario

    11/27 - Industry leaders joined congressional counterparts Monday in opposing a remedy to relieve flooding Lake Ontario by opening higher outflows at the Moses-Saunders dam on the nearby St. Lawrence River.

    Last week, the International Joint Commission in charge of water regulation approved a plan to open the floodgates in order to lower lake levels on the easternmost of the Great Lakes.

    Closing the St. Lawrence Seaway in December to accommodate higher water outflow at the Moses-Saunders dam could cost the Canadian and U.S. economies $193 million per week, the Chamber of Marine Commerce said Monday. This would impact farmers’ grain exports and manufacturing plant operations and disrupt deliveries of fuel, construction materials and road salt for winter to cities throughout the region.

    Taconite iron ore shipments would not be impacted since ore boats traverse mainly through the four other lakes.

    “As residents ourselves of Great Lakes communities affected by flooding and storm damage, we share in the concern regarding record-high water levels," Deborah DeLuca, Duluth Seaway Port Authority executive director, said in a news release. "However, the minor water level relief that would result from increased December outflow through the Moses-Saunders Dam would be negligible at best. Concurrently, increasing the outflow to levels unsafe for navigation would do immeasurable and long-term harm to producers and consumers throughout the entire Great Lakes region and the United States as a whole.

    "We’re all eager for solutions, but opening the flow on a single dam in December isn’t a meaningful solution, especially when weighed against the associated adverse effects.”

    The Chamber of Marine Commerce said a negligible 4-centimeter-per-week reduction would result from the plan — coming at a huge cost to commercial navigation.

    “We have the greatest sympathy for Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River residents and business owners that have been impacted by flooding due to unprecedented weather conditions. This situation has also cost our supply chain millions of dollars,” Chamber of Marine Commerce President Bruce Burrows said. “Halting St. Lawrence Seaway shipping altogether would cause major harm to our economy and achieve no noticeable benefit for flooding victims."

    Burrows called on the International Joint Commission and government leaders to collaborate with affected stakeholders to find solutions that look at shoreline resiliency, flood management zones and what can be done during the winter when the St. Lawrence Seaway is closed for eight weeks to navigation starting Jan. 15.

    "The costs of stopping commercial navigation at this critical point in December will significantly affect industries that have organized their supply chains around the Seaway’s shipping season," the Chamber said. "Even if companies were able to find alternative transportation (with this very short notice), this would cost considerably more and force huge volumes of cargo onto thousands of trucks at the detriment to the environment and road congestion."

    In a Nov. 20 letter, 20 members of Congress from the Great Lakes region, including Rep. Pete Stauber, R-Hermantown, urged the International Joint Commission to ensure the seaway remains open during the navigation season.

    "The Great Lakes, including communities in our districts are facing high-water levels. We understand that this problem is real. However, we urge the commission to reject a short-term solution for Lake Ontario that risks commerce in the region by causing the Saint Lawrence Seaway to close during the navigation season," they wrote. "Any closure of the Seaway during the navigation season will impede maritime commerce and negatively impact international trade to and from our states."

    The International Joint Commission did not respond to a News Tribune request for comment Monday.

    In June, the Chamber of Marine Commerce and Duluth Seaway Port Authority opposed a similar plan by the International Joint Commission to open the Moses-Saunders Dam wider to alleviate Lake Ontario's high water levels.

    The groups warned it could cost the shipping industry upward of $1 billion in financial damage to the U.S. and Canadian economies. Ultimately, the commission maintained outflow levels through the dam that still allowed for safe shipping.
  4. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    So here's the simpleton again. Didn't anyone forecast this rising level? It didn't jut happen on 11/27, right? Economics is an important metric, but what is the adverse economics to the lake side of the equation of doing nothing? With rising water levels on everyone's mind these days you'd think the people responsible for monitoring this stuff would be doing that. Maybe I'm missing something...did a glacier just melt in the last 5 days or something??
  5. timvail

    timvail Senior Member

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    I wonder if anyone really knows the answer to that question. Here on southern Georgian bay general mid August we see up to a several inch drop in the water level. Didn’t happen this year . In fact I checked our boat yesterday on the hard and covered for winter at the marina. The fuel dock is about 6 inches above the water level. This past summer they placed another dock on top of the original fuel dock because it was almost underwater. Well it is now. So it is expected if another heavy snow winter along with a wet spring we will be seeing record levels in winter ur area. As it is people are expecting significant ice damage this winter. Those that live on the west shore of the bay are fearful during next springs ice breakup when an east wind comes a howling what damage their property’s will see. If the army cores estimates are 50% correct, we are going to be in trouble up here. Hopefully we have a mild winter and little snow.
  6. klinger12

    klinger12 New Member

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    Northern Lake Michigan here, record lows were about 5-7 years ago. They rebounded quickly, areas that came back to safe navigable depth that may not have been even close to that within a year. The water level didn't just go up this fall, in my area most fixed docks that have usually been multiple feet above water even when we had good water were under water in June. Similar to timvail, many have built new docks on top of those that are not submerged, and some of these are still in danger of going under. Sea walls that have been in place for decades are under water in places. South of my area there are homes on the lake shore that have been evacuated due to the concern they will be washed into the lake this winter, as well as sections of the road that follows the shore around Mac Island has recently had sections fall into the lake. This isn't something that happened over night, but this is not something that residents in this area have ever seen. Hopefully a solution can be found, whether that is gates and locks, or something else, I am not sure.
  7. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    We have had several mild winters in N/E Florida. :p:p:D:D
    Sadly this means more bugs, misquotes, midges, flies and gnats.
    I am seeing sings of a lil more than mild winter already and making plans for some overdue, good deep freezes. Natures bug killing system. :eek::eek:
    Now I read timvail & Klinger12's comments and feel pretty bad for the kids up there. :confused::confused:
    When we freeze down here, It's freaking cold up there. Can you kids just be cold with low snow? ;);)
    Hang in there kids and stay safe. :):)
  8. Beckmwi

    Beckmwi New Member

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  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I'm wondering why they can't leave the locks open on the Chicago canal going to the Mississippi river? Same with the Erie Canal Locks from Oswego to the Hudson.
  10. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    I suppose they are. But to Capt J's point isn't that why they have all those control gates, etc. I don't know much about the system up there but it seems that a beneficial decision was made for one side of the equation that could have serious consequences on the other. Couldn't they spill off some of the water as they noticed it rising? Putting a dock on top of a dock should have alerted some official?
  11. Beckmwi

    Beckmwi New Member

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    There my be some possibilities there, I am no expert. These are freshwater seas, not dammed rivers. I am not sure how much control we really have.
  12. Rodger

    Rodger Senior Member

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    The only place on the Great Lakes where they can control the water level is on the St Lawrence Seaway at the Iroquois Lock near Cornwall Ontario and beside that lock is Hydrol Generating Plant.
    In early spring after the seaway opened Montreal was starting to flood so they closed the dam at the power house and in two weeks Lake Ontario went up three feet and continued to rise all summer.
    Note: Oswego Canal drains into Lake Ontario and Erie Canal drains into the Hudson River.
    Late August they opened the power house dam in Cornwall to lower Lake Ontario and it took about two months get Lake Ontario down about one foot.
    The St Lawrence River has a strong current so when they increased the flow they had to have a tug assist ships Capture.PNG Capture.PNG while entering the Iroquois Lock.
    There is a small town two miles west of Welland Canal called Port Dalhousie where the first three Welland Canal were.
    The Federal Government is spending 30 million dollars to repair both piers as they have been closed for two years because of there condition they started early spring driving steel piles and they are only making the piers six inches higher than the original piers. The contractor had to stop work mid June as the new piers were under water.
    Mid July when new piers were under water the city asked the Federal Gov. to increase the height and they said no.
    The piers were under water also three years ago. The first picture is Port Dalhousie and second picture is the pleasure craft dock below Lock one Welland Canal.
  13. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    Good info, thanks! And so its no simple solution, but there have to be choices other than evacuating the affected areas? No? Query: meaning no provocation, is this condition because of the increased ice/snow melts, or a regular episodic occurrence.
  14. Rodger

    Rodger Senior Member

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    Here are pictures of Port Dalhousie Pier repairs, in the picture you see the steel piles that they drive down to refusal then cut them off at the proper height. You would think after two years of flooding they would cut the piles two or three feet higher to prevent future flooding. In the first picture you can see where they cut piles to new level.
    Your Tax Dollar at work. Capture.PNG Capture.PNG Capture.PNG
  15. Perlmudder

    Perlmudder Member

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    This also has to do with plan 2014. The water level of the great lakes used to be strictly managed. Over the past several years they have introduced a new plan to allow for more natural variations in water levels to allow for wetlands along Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence to be restored. There is a long, but pretty interesting read on it here : https://legacyfiles.ijc.org/tinymce/uploaded/LOSLR/IJC_LOSR_EN_Web.pdf
  16. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    The International Joint Commission (IJC) is coming under fire in the wake of its recent decision to reduce water outflows from Lake Ontario, a move that shoreline property owners say flies in the face of new data released by the US Army Corps of Engineers showing the lakes sitting far above long-term averages.

    Water volumes flowing from Lake Ontario into the St Lawrence River and out to sea are artificially controlled by the Moses-Saunders Dam near the Ontario-Quebec border. The dam, operated by the IJC, was adjusted on November 30 to reduce outflow volume by a rate of 20 cubic metres per second, or 1.72 bn litres every 24 hours.

    https://www.ibinews.com/ijc-under-fire-over-continuing-high-water-levels/35327.article
  17. CaptEvan

    CaptEvan Senior Member

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    Please understand....the controlled level of Lake Ontario is of no matter to the rest of the Great Lakes. With some 300' plus drop between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, via the un-checked Niagara Falls, the upper lakes must rely only on that which can be taken down with the combined efforts of the Chicago River. Crazy Idea: If Niagara Falls can take no more water, the landscape of upstate New York , Ontario, and much of the Midwest would be underwater.

    So, here we are again at the highest Great Lakes levels since 1985-1986. Summer lakefront homes are again falling into the lake in the seasonal storms fury pushed by high water. And no relief on the horizon as forecasts go for the coming year.

    The new reality is that the lakeshore will never be the same again, what has been taken vertically from dunes and lakeshore frontage is lost forever. A lower water storm cannot replace the dune, only build up the horizontal beach depth to a new high.

    These are scary days ahead.
  18. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    So for the layman like me, that means more irreversible shorefront water rise with the lose of established shore front real estate values, and severe consequences down stream if more water is let go?