Shallower Lake Erie predicted
Written by Cincinatti Enquirer   
Friday, 28 July 2006 05:56

The newest update to a Lake Erie management plan predicts global warming will lead to a steep drop in water levels during the next 64 years, a change that could cause the lake's surface area to shrink by up to 15 percent.

Updated annually, the plan is required by the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the United States and Canada. It is developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environment Canada and state and local governments with help from the shipping industry, sports-fishing operators, farm interests, academics and environmental organizations.

The newest update addresses for the first time when, where and how the shoreline will be reshaped. It says the water temperature of Lake Erie has increased by one degree since 1988 and predicts the lake's level could fall about 34 inches.

It also says the other Great Lakes will lose water.

If the projections are accurate, Lake Erie would be reduced by one-sixth by late this century, exposing nearly 2,200 square miles of land and creating marshes, prairies, beaches and forests, researchers said.

Researchers said new islands are appearing in the western basin, where Lake Erie is at its lowest and some reefs are about 2 feet below surface.

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