Great Lakes Coalition.

October 2012

Officials representing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be available via teleconference to update media regarding low water levels for Lake Michigan-Huron and Lake Superior. Experts will also able to discuss water levels on the other Great Lakes. Experts from Environment Canada will also be available to support this discussion. Lake Michigan-Huron is within inches of reaching the lowest water level in nearly 50 years. Due to their union at the Straits of Mackinac, the lakes are treated as one for forecasting purposes. Corps and Environment Canada experts forecast that if current trends continue, Lake Michigan-Huron could hit historic lows in late Fall 2012 and early 2013. Water levels on the other Great Lakes are also lower than average, but not expected to reach historic lows through early 2013.

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, October 31, 2012 Via teleconference: please call (888) 622-5357 and enter passcode: 257602 to participate.

One-hundred lines will be available on a first come-first serve basis. If you are unable to attend or gain access, please contact the Detroit District Public Affairs Office at 888-694-8313 so that we may assess the need to schedule an additional event.

Low lake levels impact commerce, recreation, local and international economies, environmental health, habitat and species preservation, and several other significant areas of interest. It is important that the Great Lakes and international community understand the factors that are affecting lake levels so they may determine how to respond to this announcement.


 


June 2012

Public Hearings on Upper Great Lakes The IJC is inviting public comment on a report that examines whether the regulation of outflows from Lake Superior might be improved to take into consideration the evolving needs of users on Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan and Erie. The report also examines the potential future impacts of climate change, a management strategy to better anticipate and respond to future extreme water levels, the feasibility and implications of restoring water levels in lakes Michigan-Huron and multi-lake regulation. Comments will be accepted at public hearings and by mail, email and on-line until August 31, 2012.

07-12-12 IJC Public Hearing Holland Meeting Invitation

MARCH 2007

Port Sheldon Township of Ottawa County has a case in the Michigan Supreme Court that has denied the second motion for reconsideration by the MDEQ. The case involved the Port Sheldon Township refusal of a property owner’s request for a permit to build on a dune with a greater than 30 degree slope. The final ruling makes the denial of the permit a deprivation of “all economically beneficial use of the property” and therefore was a compensable regulatory taking. The result: Michigan has now paid $2,000,000 plus and the title still resides with the original property owners.

Shoreline – Berrien County

In other news, the MDEQ has reevaluated property setbacks on over 800 individual properties with letters to each owner. The setbacks are for new construction. They are based on aerial photographs, taking the distance from the vegetation line to a so-called erosion hazard line (EHL). The numbers are shocking, amounting to over 50% of the property in some cases. There is no state law requiring setback notification to prospective buyers. Nor is there a requirement that Berrien County title records show the setbacks. Comment letters are requested from owners with final determination letters to be sent out by certified mail. In “Banks vs. Army Corps”, we claim that all these prospective losses are due to the jetties at St. Joseph Harbor.

JUNE 2006

Presidential Executive Order: Protecting the Property Rights of the American People

APRIL 2006

Mr. Dennis Schornack, Chairman
International Joint Commission
1250 23rd Street, NW, Suite 100
Washington, DC 20440

Re: Upper Lakes Plan of Study for the Review of the Regulation of Overflow from Lake Superior (October 2005)

Dear Mr. Schornack:

As you know, the International Great Lakes Coalition for Shoreline Preservation (IGLC) is an alliance of several thousand shoreline property owners who share the common goal of preserving and protecting our beaches as water levels fluctuate.

We have read the October 2005 Study Plan and wish to compliment the writers on the proposed “guiding principals” on page 32 that call for “broad stakeholder and public input” and remediation measures that “will not result in disproportionate losses to any particular interest group.” Indeed, Mr. Doug Cuthbert suggests in Annex 6 that the IJC should “identify and engage the organized interest groups who are affected by and concerned about water level fluctuation,” and “engage them as observers in the technical groups.”

In respect, we wish to recommend several IGLC members for inclusion on the study committees, when they are organized. They are:

Roger J. Smithe, IGLC Chairman
William Somerville, President of the Michigan/Lake Michigan Chapter of the IGLC
John Boyd, IGLC Technical Director

I am enclosing the resumes for both Roger Smithe and John Boyd. As you are already well acquainted with Mr. Somerville, I am sure you are aware of his qualifications.

Mr. Smithe is an environmental engineer with 30 years of experience in the pulp and paper industry and in outside consulting activities. He is a former United States Co-Chairman of the Environmental Sub-Committee of the United States Chamber of Commerce Committee on Canada-US Relations (1991). He has been active in technical organizations and has served on the Manistee, MI planning commission and the solid waste council. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS degree in Chemical Engineering and an MS degree in Industrial Engineering. He is a registered professional engineer. As a shoreline property owner, IGLC Chairman, and engineer, he is well acquainted with the causes and effects of lake level fluctuations. We suggest him for the Public Interest Advisory Group of the Plan formulation and Evaluation Group.

Mr. Boyd is a shoreline resident and Technical Director of the IGLC. He is well acquainted with the hydrology of the Great Lakes and the control plans for the regulation of Lake Superior outflow. He has created a complete hydrologic model of the Great Lakes system from Long Lac/Ogoki to the Atlantic Ocean which can be used to evaluate regulations plans, regime changes, and water supply changes. He has suggested changes to existing regulation plans that would improve hydropower production and reduce property damage during high water supply conditions. He has researched the causes of shoreline erosion and possible remedies – including Lake Michigan dune history and the impact of shore perpendicular structures. He has studied the Coastal Engineering Manual littoral sediment transport theory and modeled erosion expectations base on Wave Information study data for Michigan’s west coast. He is knowledgeable about the Levels reference Study and Annexes of 1992. Mr. Boyd has a BS degree in Electrical Engineering and 40 years of experience with the General Electric Company and with Fisher & Paykel in New Zealand. He holds 26 patents. We suggest Mr. Boyd for the Technical study Group for Lake Superior Regulation, or for the Independent Technical Review Group.

Should you wish further information regarding these three recommendations, please le us know.

Roger J. Smithe, Chairman
Executive Board of the IGLC

 

 

MARCH 2006

Greetings and best regards, folks. Let me introduce myself. I am Roger Smithe, the newly elected Chairman of the International Great Lakes Coalition (IGLC) for 2006. The other officers of the IGLC are: Vice Chairman, Joe Menegon of Hamilton, Ontario; Secretary, Jim TeSelle, President of the Wisconsin Chapter; Treasurer, Priscilla Mueller of the Michigan/Lake Michigan Chapter; and Special Envoy for Government Affairs, Bill Somerville of the Michigan/Lake Michigan Chapter.

I live on the shore of Lake Michigan, in Manistee, MI. I joined the Coalition in1988 when water levels were at record highs and caused horrible erosion of beaches and bluffs in my area. I'm 73 years old, a registered professional engineer and still work four days a week. My phone number and e-mail address are available from the Coalition office in Saugatuck. (269-857-8945)

I believe the principal objective of the IGLC is still the same today as it was in 1988: the preservation of beaches and property. High levels will surely return and threaten our homes again. They always have come back after a period of low water.

My vision of the IGLC sees a collection of individual chapters that are united in the one common goal of Reasonable Lake Levels. However, some chapters are also involved in important local issues. The Wisconsin chapter has been working with the state on programs for Great Lakes Restoration. Articles on their accomplishments are in this newsletter. The Michigan/Lake Michigan chapter has expertise on sand supply. Some shoreline residents are suing the Corps of Engineers because pier structures interrupt the littoral drift of sand that nourishes the beaches. (See article by John Ehret) The Ohio chapter is involved in property rights issues. The Michigan/Lake Erie chapter is concerned about downcutting in the St. Clair River. Thus, the IGLC also serves as a forum for chapters to exchange information and ideas and gain wider support.

On lake levels again: The International Joint Commission (IJC) is soon going to undertake a VERY IMPORTANT and comprehensive new study of lake level management – if they get funding from Congress. The study will focus on two things: (1) possible changes in the formula for releasing Lake Superior water into Lakes Michigan and Huron, and (2) possible downcutting of the St. Clair River, which might (we don't know) have increased flows from Lake Huron to Lake Erie, and if so, possible remedial measures.

The IGLC believes, and I think everyone will agree, that when there is too much water in the lakes, the solution is to let some out. It is not to redistribute it between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, or between Lake Huron and Lake Erie. We have sent comments on this point to the IJC and the Corps Engineers.

We are concerned that the study mentions a new balancing of interests, with "no disproportionate losses to any particular interest." That sounds like there may be some loss to some interests, and you know who that will be if we let it happen. The IGLC will be requesting that several of our members be appointed to represent shoreline interests on the various study groups. We would like to hear from anyone who has expertise in hydrology or the environmental impact of level fluctuations. You may call the office and leave a message. (269-857-8945) Bill Somerville, president of the Michigan/Lake Michigan chapter has already met several times with IJC people to present Coalition views.

Finally, the IGLC is friends with Save Our Shoreline (SOS). They have about 2500 members, mostly on Lake Huron, Saginaw Bay and Traverse City. SOS contends that, if your property deed says you own to the water's edge, that is exactly what it means. The DEQ does not own the beach. This issue has not been fully resolved and the IGLC will keep you informed.

From Your Secretary:

Greetings, friends and neighbors! Bet you thought we'd forgotten about you! Well we didn't, we've just been so involved with Lakes issues that this newsletter got delayed just a bit. There's so much going on that it's taken a lot of our time just to keep up with it. In this letter we hope to give you a brief, repeat brief, summary of the major issues. Reading it all and trying to absorb it would probably leave most of us longing for re-runs of I Love Lucy. Actually it's all good, and we support it – hey, it's been a long time since any of us could say that!

One thing before we proceed: if we are to have any influence at all on what's going to be done with the Lakes, we need you. Yes you. Without you we are just a small group of nice guys and gals who want to leave something better to our children and grandchildren, but with you, we can actually do it. We need your support, and at the risk of putting you off, your money. Meetings, mailings, and trips all cost money but if we don't participate in the events going on, we will be a small faceless voice in a sea of much louder ones. Expect us to ask you to send letters to our elected representatives from time to time, and expect a survey asking your feelings about issues that affect us and the Lakes.

For more information, go to the newsletters section.


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