Lake Michigan Water Levels

November 15th, 2012 at 8:20 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

   Picture shows low water level at Northport in Leelanau County, Michigan (USGS pic.).   The water level of Lake Michigan has fallen 2 inches in the last month and the lake is 15″ lower than it was one year ago.   Lake Michigan/Huron (they behave as one big lake for water level purposes, joined at the Mackinac Bridge) is 28″ below the average water level and now one inch above the lowest level of the last 50 years back in 1964.  Lake Superior is up one inch in the last month and 2″ below the level of one year ago.  Superior is 13″ below the century average.  Lake Erie is up 2″ in the last month, but down 13″ year-to-year.   Lake Erie is 6″ below the century average.  Lake Ontario is down 1″ in the last month and down 11″ in the last year.  Ontario is 9″ below the long-term November average.   According to this article, the low levels are “not out of the ordinary”.    I wouldn’t go that far.  It is unusual, but not unprecedented to see a water level this low on Lake Michigan.  Grand Rapids has had 30.84″ of precipitation this year.  That’s 91% of average, so not all that far off normal.  Last year we actually had above normal precipitation in Grand Rapids (41.39″).  Many people feel that dredging in the St. Clair River has contributed to the low lake levels.    The low lake levels also affect lakes that connect to Lake Michigan (Macatawa, Spring, Muskegon, White).  The Grand River in Grand Rapids is running at 85.3% of median flow right now.   You can check Michigan river levels here.   The some, the solution to the low water level of Lake Michigan is taxing kayaks!

13 Responses to “Lake Michigan Water Levels”

  1. Paul says:

    Yep! Very low levels! It’s so eerie to be able to look out and see sand and rocks for such a long distance! Maybe I can go out and try to find some old dinosaur bones out there? LOL

  2. Cheryl Peterson says:

    Taxing Kayaks is a solution..? How will that help ? Why discourage folks whose water sport has NO adverse effects on the environment ? Good Grief !

    1. Jack says:

      3 Great Questions !.? !! What’s Next, A Question TAX ??? Lol ;-) . :-(

  3. Brad says:

    Big admission tonight, Bill. America thanks you!

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      LOL, Mark you’ve got too much time on your hands!

  4. Kate (44th and Breton) says:

    I went out to Grand Haven on Tuesday night and noticed that the lakeshore had receded quite a bit.

  5. Prince Paradise says:

    I’m sure that the idiot who came up with a Kayak tax is some fat slob does obviously does not fit in a yak in the first place. Get some exercise and let the taxes from the gyms pay for these projects. (this makes as much sense as putting a tax on non-motorized, shallow depth, waterway craft.

  6. wseaton says:

    As an avid white water rafter the rate lake shore privatization is occuring kayakers won’t soon have a means to get into local rivers and lakes without having to pay some fat condo owning association $200 for a permit. I’m sure of course Bill Steffen supports this because it’s really not a ‘tax’.

    I’d also be curious as to statistics about long term macro changes in the jet stream causing these precipitation changes over the centuries, but as usual Bill ‘Hannity’ Steffen wants to talk about local tax policy and Fox news rather than the weather.

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      “the rate lake shore privatization is occurring?” You got something to back that up?…public land isn’t being given to condo associations at an alarming rate that I know of. If you’re referring to Saugatuck, there’s a state park there with more than a mile of beach to walk and also Oval Beach. There are many state, county and city parks on Lake Michigan. There are public boat launches at most significant lakes. There are literally dozens of places to enter and exit the Grand River.

  7. Marcia says:

    American waters are disappearing while Europe is flooding. Some say the water in the Great Lakes is being drained to raise the level in the Mississippi yet still, the Mississippi is too low for all the boats to go through. Back in 1980, some oil drillers in Louisiana drilled into a salt mine and drained the whole lake Peigneur, causing a horrible disaster. See the youtube video—— Who remembers hearing about that when it happened? Lots goes on that is not publicized. Anyway, as for taxing kayakers? I hope that’s a joke. As a kayaker myself, I can say there wasn’t enough water in the rivers to even go kayaking in many of the rivers last summer. Maybe they meant “Tazing” kayakers. That makes about as much sense!! God Bless us all!!

  8. Brandon says:

    It is because they are bottling it and shipping it around the world!

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