GBA 2020 - Fall Update

A s GBA delves deeper into the ins and outs of what is driving our water levels on Georgian Bay and what we might expect in the future, certain aspects of the forces affecting the system are becoming clearer. Although it is not yet established how much impact climate change has had to date and will have in the future, many government agencies and academics are compiling a mounting body of data about the actual and expected impacts. From this data, eminent scientists are drawing conclusions about what could happen to such drivers as: water and air temperatures, precipitation levels, shifting weather patterns, ice cover, wind speeds, and the frequency and ferocity of storms. At GBA we consider all opinions on water levels, which often come to different conclusions on what we can expect in the future. For example, there are those who believe that our historical trends in water level fluctuations between highs and lows for Lake Michigan-Huron (M-H) will still provide a solid foundation for forward predictions, while others expect that climate change impacts have made those previous trends redundant, and that we have entered into a new (climate change-related) paradigm. Vol. 30 No. 3, Fall 2020 A Tale of a Thousand Turtles..........6 Sandy Thompson – A Passionate Guardian of the Bay.........................10 President’s Report ............................12 ED’s Advocacy Report.......................13 Upcoming Events...............................14 News and I nformat i on f rom the Georg i an Bay Assoc i at i on The History of the Manitou Association PAGE 4 PAGE 8 PM # 40038178 GBA U P D A T E Your Voice on the Bay Development Creep Threatens Georgian Bay Continues on page 2 INS IDE : Balancing all these disparate views can be challenging, but one thing is abundantly clear – uncertainty rules. Next year, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is predicting a small decline in water levels. The 2020 predictions made in 2019 by various parties ranged from a rise of about one foot to a drop of a few inches, neither of which proved correct. The reality is that all forward projections need to be constantly updated as new information emerges, such as periods of high precipitation or extended droughts. Accordingly, GBA decided to revisit our water levels advocacy strategy and conducted a major review to determine what action we could and should be taking, which is summarized below: ≥ Determine the extent to which the current data on water levels is complete and accurate; whether any action is necessary to plug data gaps and improve accuracy; and how to achieve any action needed. ≥ Ensure that available data is gathered and organized into a uniform and more understandable, user-friendly format to better inform decision-making regarding any adjustments needed to the various control points in the system (see chart on page 2), and establish the appropriate actions to achieve this. ≥ Explore how greater coordination between control boards and other water levels control structures in the system could be achieved in order to improve mitigation of extreme highs and lows. On this, GBA will focus on action required to improve coordination between the International Lake Superior Board of Control, and the Long Lac / Ogoki and Chicago diversions, as these are the primary control points relevant to Georgian Bay water levels. ≥ Determine what specific short to long-term actions could and should be taken to make adjustments at the various control points in the system in order to do the best we can to mitigate extreme high and low water levels. Water, Water Everywhere! By Rupert Kindersley, Executive Director