Sierra's new bi-national policy on Great Lakes water levels
Sierra Club is the only grassroots environmental organization active in all Great Lakes jurisdictions. The Ontario Chapter and Sierra Club Chapters in all eight U.S. Great Lakes States support ecosystem-wide stewardship of Great Lakes levels. As well, Sierra Club Ontario now has the policy support of those US Chapters for the gradual restoration of Upper Great Lakes levels. Our Great Lakes Bi-national Policy simply and clearly now states:
The increased conveyance capacity of the St. Clair River as a result of over 100 years of navigation dredging, sand and gravel riverbed mining, shoreline alterations and recently discovered ongoing erosion of the St. Clair River, has permanently lowered without compensation the normal levels of Lakes Michigan and Huron; therefore we request that those levels be increased gradually by returning the upper St. Clair River conveyance capacity to its state prior to the 1962 dredging. This undertaking would be carried out in such manner as to allow the levels of Lakes Michigan and Huron to fluctuate naturally again in order to allow wetlands to function effectively. At the same time it would be managed in such manner as to eliminate or at least minimize any temporary negative impacts downstream. Accordingly, a pre-requisite is a full Environmental Impact Study of this restoration, as opposed to no action, of impacts at the outflow of Lake Huron, upstream, and downstream including Lakes St. Clair and Erie. The Environmental Impact Study should be completed in 2 years so that decisions can be made before any more ecological harm is done. The overall ecological benefits must outweigh possible negative impacts for each of the lakes. The Environmental Assessment would include a 3-dimensional model run of the river that includes its turns and turbulence.
We are now working to get broad agreement on this policy from all the other major environmental organizations around the Great Lakes. This initiative deserves your support. Please contact us if you are a member of a group that you believe will support this.
Click on the PDF below to see the entire water level policy.