Georgian Bay water levels rising at normal summer levels
Published Sunday, June 15, 2014 6:40PM EDT
Georgian Bay water levels appear to be rising over the last couple of years.
But residents say there’s still more to do. Ed Holley uses the launch ramp at The Sturgeon Point Marina, where the Nottawasaga River meets Georgian Bay, to illustrate how much the water levels have changed since last year.
“It's up about six inches since the ice went out,” he says.
In Fall 2012, water levels on Georgian Bay dropped to their lowest point in 50 years, leaving many docks high and dry. By the following spring, most marinas had no choice but to spend thousands on dredging. Holley is relieved that won’t be the case this summer.
“Around the marina we have actually had to raise the docks again which is kind of nice,” Holley says. “The steps aren't quite as steep as they used to be, the boat lifts are getting taller, so we are ordering parts to make the extension legs a little taller so we can get the boats out of the water.”
According to the Canadian Hydrographic Service, water levels were about 34 centimetres higher this May compared to last May and they are continuing to go up. Right now the water is slightly above the reference point used on navigational charts for boaters.
However, it’s being met with skepticism from some.
"It's wonderful but it’s temporary,” says Joseph Hayward.
He’s happy to see some water under his dock for a change and credits the unusually cold winter for freezing the Great Lakes and cutting off months of evaporation. But Hayward says the lake is still below average and one winter doesn’t fix the long-term trend that water levels have been going down.
With Restore Our Water International, he wants the Canadian government to match efforts in the US to definitively fix the problems along the St. Clair River.
“This gives us time to get the fix in place so we don't have to endure more extremely low levels that cause a lot of destruction in a lot of different ways to the ecology, fish habitat, to properties, to the lake itself,” he says. “It doesn't stop there.”
It's normal for water levels on the upper Great Lakes to rise through the early summer months and go down again in the autumn. They normally reach a peak sometime in July.