Great Lakes water level fluctuations - What does the future hold?

TRAVERSE CITY — Lakes Michigan and Huron have risen more than three feet in two years, going from all-time record lows in 2013 to slightly above long-term averages today. Great Lakes property owners, boaters, government officials and anyone with an interest in what those rapid fluctuations mean for the lakes are invited to learn more at a May 18 seminar.

Sponsored by NMC's Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, the seminar will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. May 18 at the Hagerty Center and is the first of a three-part series focused on understanding Great Lakes water levels and how future trends may influence our region. Subsequent seminars will be held June 22 and a future date. In an effort to help decision-makers address the challenges and opportunities posed by Great Lakes water level variability, this integrated assessment (IA) focuses on Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie and asks:

What environmental, social, political, and economical policy options can be implemented to better enable people, businesses, and governments to adapt to Great Lakes water level variability both now and in the future? What management actions can be implemented?

This work is part of a Great Lakes-wide investigation awarded to seven teams of U.S. and Canadian researchers for six-month planning grants. Planning grants began in March and run through August 2015. Potential adaptive strategies will be examined, and appropriate localities and partners willing to collaborate in the IA funding from the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan will be identified.

This first community stakeholder event will include presentations and discussions from leading experts and scientists focused on Great Lakes water levels. Learn about the latest developments of a new International Great Lakes Datum (IGLD - 2020), the benchmark of how lake levels are measured, and the importance of this effort for the entire Great Lakes. Speakers and topics include:

Water Levels in the Lakes, Upcoming International Great Lakes Datum (IGLD) Update

Laura Rear McLaughlin - Mapping and Charting Program Manager

Colleen Roche, PE - Design and Development Engineering Team Lead

NOAA, Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS)

Relationship of the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD88) and the IGLD, Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS), Updates to Datums

Dave Rigney - Michigan geodetic advisor

NOAA, National Geodetic Survey (NGS)

Updates on Nautical Charts in the Great Lakes

Tom Loeper - Regional Navigation Manager - Great Lakes Region,

NOAA, Office of Coast Survey (OCS)

Communicating Long-term Great Lakes Regional Water Budget and Water Level Data

Dr. Drew Gronewold Ph.D. PE - Physical Scientist,

NOAA, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL)

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required as space is limited. Please RSVP to: and provide names of attendees and a contact number.

Release date: May 6, 2015

For more information:

Hans VanSumeren
Director, Great Lakes Water Studies Institute
(231) 995-1793


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