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Can restoration of Michigan-Huron levels address extremes?



Details
In the context of the Study, the term restoration refers to providing a permanent increase in Lake Michigan-Huron water levels, relative to what they would otherwise be, by constructing structures in the St. Clair River so as to reduce the river’s conveyance capacity (i.e., ability to discharge water). Restoration structures would compensate for past lowering resulting from natural and human-induced changes in the St. Clair River that increased the channel’s conveyance capacity. Restoration structures typically are non-adjustable, and have a permanent impact on water levels upstream. They also would have a temporary effect on water levels downstream, immediately after the structures are built. Regulation structures, by contrast, are adjustable, and can be raised or lowered to adjust water levels and flows both upstream and downstream (within certain limits), as desired. In part as a response to public concerns over low water levels, the IJC directed the Study to conduct an exploratory analysis of restoration focused primarily on the feasibility and impacts of nonadjustable restoration structures that would permanently raise Lake Michigan-Huron water levels. This included an analysis of structures proposed in previous studies, as well as some newer technologies. The restoration analysis examined the effects of these structures on water levels and flows throughout the upper Great Lakes and the associated impacts of the different scenarios on the key interests served by the waters of the lakes and connecting channels. These effects included both the shorter term construction-related impacts, as well as the longer term system-wide impacts. The environmental impacts and institutional issues related to building restoration structures in the St. Clair River were also reviewed.
Related Projects
Review of St. Clair Compensation Options
Institutional Feasibility of St. Clair Compensating Works
Environmental Impacts of Structures in the St. Clair River
Regulation and Compensation Literature Review
Institutional & Governance Analysis
St. Clair Restoration Structure Cost Estimates
In-Stream Turbine Hydrodynamic Modelling
Hydrologic Simulation of Restoration Structures
Lake Michigan-Huron Restoration Analysis
Shared Vision Modelling
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