River erosion causes water levels to drop in Lakes Huron, Michigan
Written by Lansing State Journal   
Tuesday, 25 January 2005 17:02
Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are losing vast amounts of water because of erosion from a commercial navigation channel at the bottom of the St. Clair River, says a report issued Monday.


It was widely known that the two geologically connected lakes lost water when the channel was dug in 1962, boosting the flow south toward Lake Erie. But previously undetected erosion has made the channel more than 60 feet deep in some places - twice as deep as needed for shipping, the report said.

That has contributed to a decline of 8 inches to 13 inches in the Huron-Michigan water level in the past three decades, the report said, and it continues a trend dating to about 1860, when the first channels were dredged on the St. Clair River.

Since then, levels on the two lakes have fallen a combined 32 inches, and the problem will worsen unless it's corrected, the report said.

"We've got something very alarming going on here," said Rob Nairn, who wrote the report for W.F. Baird & Associates, an international coastal engineering firm. "The recent riverbed erosion is unprecedented, even on a geologic time scale."

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