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January 29, 2013

Lowest water levels ever a problem for Leland and other harbors

Filed under: boats,Business,environment,lake michigan,Leelanau,leland,michigan,photo,suttons bay,video — Andrew McFarlane @ 7:00 am

"... is the Lake Michigan water level low?" ...

Chicago Tonight had an in-depth feature (with video) on the lowest Great Lakes water levels in recorded history that features Leland and Leelanau County that begins:

2012 was the warmest year on record according to NOAA, the nation's climate monitoring service. The Midwest was also in the grip of a severe drought. Those two factors have led to the lowest water levels in history for Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, which is considered one body of water hydrologically. The impact of the low lake levels on those who live on the Great Lakes is heavy.

Leland Harbor is the heart of a northern Michigan town. The small town is quiet in the winter, but the population jumps ten-fold in the summer when tourists flock to the harbor, beaches and quaint shops. That tourist economy is now in jeopardy because of the dramatic drop in Lake Michigan's water level.

Harbor master Russel Dzuba said the lake is down more than two feet from its average, and that drop is threatening to close the harbor.

“The economic impact this harbor has on the community is strong. And when things are slow, the guy at the grocery store, the guy at the restaurant comes down and asks me what's going on. They want to know,” said Dzuba. “So, it’s an economic punch that we hate to think what happens if we cant keep that channel open.”

Click through for the video!

Photo Credit: "... is the Lake Michigan water level low?" by Ken Scott was perfect for this feature!

6 Comments »

  1. How will the low water levels effect property values

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    Comment by Jbc — February 10, 2013 @ 11:00 am

  2. It kind of depends upon the parcel. Some properties drop in value while others pick up more beach.

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    Comment by farlane — February 10, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

  3. But a lot of that is ugly beach

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    Comment by Jbc — February 10, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

  4. True. In some cases I know that people have gained nice beaches through low levels. In any case, it's not a good sign for the health of the Great Lakes.

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    Comment by farlane — February 11, 2013 @ 11:11 am

  5. The mid 1980s were a time of record HIGH lake levels. I lived in South Haven at the time and houses that had been on the bluffs for 40 years were being washed into Lake Michigan. The photo comparison shown in this article is deceiving.

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    Comment by Gino Schafer — January 20, 2014 @ 8:30 am

  6. What goes around comes around. Look at this historical photo of Leland and how low the water levels were:

    http://www.leelanau.com/blog/low-water-on-lake-michigan-and-the-leland-river/

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    Comment by Gino Schafer — January 20, 2014 @ 9:07 am

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