Windsor

High lake levels mostly impact human activity, says researcher

Most of the impact from high lake levels is on human activity — but according to Mike McKay, executive director of the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor, it's not all bad.

The Army Corps of Engineers has said Lake Erie is 80 centimetres higher than average

The Army Corps of Engineers has said Lake Erie is 80 centimetres higher than average for this time of year, breaking the previous record of 15 centimetres in 1986.  (Frank J. Shepley)

Most of the impact from high lake levels is on human activity — but according to Mike McKay, executive director of the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor, it's not all bad.

"It helps facilitate commercial shipping," said McKay about the record-breaking lake levels. "There are fewer issues regarding where ships can pass through."

Typically, channels in the Great Lakes have to be dredged to allow larger ships passage. 

"With the unprecedented higher water levels that's less of a concern," said McKay. 

The Army Corps of Engineers has said Lake Erie is 80 centimetres higher than average for this time of year, breaking the previous record of 15 centimetres in 1986. 

On the 'cons' list

McKay said the high water levels are an "inconvenience" to fisherman and recreational boaters. 

There are also environmental concerns.

"We see areas where trees are flooded. Walk along the Thames River. you'll see trees normally out of the water are in the water. If it's sustained, that could cause damage," said McKay.

Flooded marshes should be okay — McKay said they're used to changing water levels — but Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair may see some expanded shoreline erosion if high water levels continue. 

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