Oct 21, 2013

Great Lakes at record lows "the longest in its period of record,"

Crains Detroit - In September, Lake Michigan's average water level was 577.56 feet, or 18 inches below its long-term average for the month, according to data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The 14 years of below-average levels on Lake Michigan is "the longest in its period of record," the corps said in its September Great Lakes Water Level Summary. Earlier in January, Lake Michigan dropped to its lowest average level ever recorded.

The implications of lower water levels are numerous for Michigan. The Great Lakes provide much of the state's drinking water and are used for commerce ranging from shipping to fishing, recreational boating and tourism.

"We were really going into a crisis situation come spring," Alan Steinman, director of the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University's Muskegon campus, said about the water levels earlier in the year. "The good news is since April, … we're no longer near that crisis level, but we have to remain vigilant. We can't get complacent because we are still well below the long-term mean."

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