Restoring Michigan-Huron levels has both benefits and costs
- Restoration of Lake Michigan-Huron water levels would result in a mix of benefits and costs for the key interests served by the upper Great Lakes system. Restoration reduces the occurrence of extreme low Michigan-Huron levels and increases the occurrence of extreme highs. As a result, by increasing water levels and water depths in Lake Michigan-Huron, restoration would generally benefit commercial navigation and recreational boating and tourism interests. On the other hand, higher Lake Michigan-Huron water levels would lead to increased flooding when levels are high and related increases in shore protection costs, and would also reduce hydropower benefits. Furthermore, downstream interests would be impacted by a temporary lowering of water levels in Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie. This includes indigenous peoples in the St. Clair River area, who make extensive use of the fish and biological resources of the St. Clair River system, and would therefore be adversely affected by Lake Michigan-Huron restoration structures.