Defining the Limits of Regulation
- The Great Lakes basin is highly dynamic, characterized by changes in lake levels as a result of both natural and human factors. The water levels of the Great Lakes depend on the storage capacities of the lakes, the outflow characteristics of the connecting channels, and the amount of water supply received by each lake. In addition to such natural factors, the capacities of the existing control structures on the St. Marys River and the need to balance the often conflicting demands of the various interests affected by Great Lakes water levels limits what can be done through regulation to affect water levels, and particularly limits the ability of regulation to reduce extreme conditions downstream of Lake Superior. A task of the IUGLS was to define these limits in order to identify conditions that could be addressed through regulation, and also those conditions that would need to be addressed through other means.