The photo shows record high water from 1986. Almost 30 years later we're looking at record low water levels on Lake Michigan that are just 2" above the all-time low from December 1948. Traverse City based AP writer John Flesher writes that As Great Lakes plummet, towns try to save harbors:
The Great Lakes, the world's biggest freshwater system, are shrinking because of drought and rising temperatures, a trend that accelerated with this year's almost snowless winter and scorching summer. Water levels have fallen to near-record lows on Lakes Michigan and Huron, while Erie, Ontario and Superior are below their historical averages.
The decline is causing heavy economic losses, with cargo freighters forced to lighten their loads, marinas too shallow for pleasure boats and weeds sprouting on exposed bottomlands, chasing away swimmers and sunbathers.
Some of the greatest suffering is in small tourist towns that lack the economic diversity of bigger port cities. Yet they are last in line for federal money to deepen channels and repair infrastructure to support the boating traffic that keeps them afloat.
Read on for more including how a federal budget crunch is making matters worse.