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Water Levels Symposium 2020

We Invite You to Join Us for our online Water Levels Symposium


Record high-highs and low-lows. What do we know?

Over the last 7 years, we have seen water levels in Georgian Bay break records on the high and low side, causing damage, hardships and anxiety. In January 2013, the all-time record low was set at 175.57 metres. Fast forward to 2020: although the all-time highest record hasn’t been broken yet (Oct 1986), every monthly record high has been broken from January to August. Going from an unusable boat house to one that is sinking underwater is one small example of many difficulties of extreme water levels.
What drives water levels is very complex, and a range of about 6 feet over time is not unusual. In fact, a range is important for the unique character and biodiversity of Georgian Bay as part of Lake Michigan-Huron. What is different is the new extremes that water levels seem to be reaching – the range appears to be expanding and more volatile. There’s a lot of information out there on water levels and what to do to take the edge off the increasing extreme high-highs and low-lows. It’s a challenge to know what information is best to act on. This symposium aims to bring together the experts, scientists and stakeholders, to drive consensus about what should be done.

Hear directly from scientists and policy makers:

Morning session objective – To achieve a consensus among scientists about:

  • What we know and don’t know about water-level fluctuation cycles;
  • What we know and don’t know about human influences in the system;
  • Whether we have all the data we need to understand water levels and, if not, what data and data-collection approaches should be prioritized; and
  • How can existing and to-be-collected data be rationalized and presented to better inform decision-making.

Afternoon session objective – To achieve a consensus among stakeholders about:

  • What improvements could be made to coordination between control boards, and their coordination with other water levels control structures in the system, to better address extreme high and low water levels.
  • Action needed to make any such improvements that are identified as being needed to better address extreme high and low water levels.

The format is designed to deliver concise information from rigorously chosen experts to your screen. It is a virtual event.

Four speakers will provide short, focused 5-minute presentations on each topic as above, and will then form a panel to answer questions from participants related to each topic. In the morning, these will be qualified scientists, engineers and academics. In the afternoon, after a 30 minute lunch break, the speakers will be those who can comment on the current system of human interferences (control boards etc.) in the Great Lakes system, the decision making process and how it could be better coordinated to achieve some mitigation of extreme high and low water levels. After 2 sessions, structured in the same way as in the morning, there will be a 30-minute wrap up discussion and Q&A. We will be announcing our lineup of speakers very soon.

Timing and registration details:

Saturday October 24, 2020
10 AM to 2 PM
Hosted by: Georgian Bay Forever and the Georgian Bay Association
This is a FREE ONLINE EVENT and you must Register to attend.
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