Learn about Lake Superior’s rising water levels at April presentations

Event Date: 4/16/2018
End Date: 4/17/2018

Lake Superior may set record high in 2018; Sea Grant, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discuss possible levels, impacts.

The National Park’s Au Sable Dunes is an area being impacted from erosion due to near record high Lake Superior water levels. In 2017 a popular overlook and trail was temporarily shut down due to severe erosion. Photo: Todd Marsee, Michigan Sea Grant

The National Park’s Au Sable Dunes is an area being impacted from erosion due to near record high Lake Superior water levels. In 2017 a popular overlook and trail was temporarily shut down due to severe erosion. Photo: Todd Marsee, Michigan Sea Grant

Lake Superior water levels are high—really high. Current levels are within just a few inches of the all-time monthly high for March, which was set back in 1986. And predictions for May, June and July set a significant probability levels could reach or even exceed the all-time monthly high for those months. The Great Lakes in general had a significant period of lake water levels being well below average in the mid-1990s until about 5 years ago. Now water levels are higher than many people have seen in their lifetime.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has been tracking lake levels with scientifically valid data for more than 100 years. The USACE predicts lake level changes with a “6-month probability” forecast, which is updated every month.

What will be the impact of higher water levels?

In partnership with Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District Office will discuss the changing Lake Superior water levels. The presentations are free and open to all. Coastal home and property owners, city and township government officials, boaters and marina owners, management agencies, regional planners, and anyone who enjoys recreating along the coast of Lake Superior will find the topics particularly relevant.

Dr. Lauren Fry, who leads the water level forecasting mission at the Detroit District Office of Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology, will discuss what to expect in terms of lake levels over the next few months and the science that goes into determining Great Lake Water levels.

Michigan Sea Grant will provide materials and handouts to help understand what the impact might be on Lake Superior coastlines and how to prepare for the fact that lake levels change over time. A question and answer time will follow the presentations allowing the public to gain valuable insight on how changing water levels may affect them.

Meetings planned in Marquette, Sault Ste. Marie

  • April 16, 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at the Marquette Charter Township Community Room, 1000 Commerce Drive, Marquette, MI 49855. Free parking on site.
  • April 17,6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at Lake Superior State University, Crawford Hall Room 205, 906 Ryan Ave., Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783. Free parking in LSSU Library Lot, lot J.

To learn more about the US Army Corps of Engineers lake level forecasting here, and gain additional insight from MSU Extension on the current situation with Lake Superior Water levels here.