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Declining Lake Levels Have Wide Ranging Impact



The winding shorelines of Door County offer visitors and residents unlimited access to nature's beauty. If you are a shoreline property owner in Door County you have probably noticed some very drastic changes in the recent months. The problem started occurring about 10 years ago, and until recently the water levels on the Great Lakes are hovering just above the all time low set in 1964.

So what is causing this problem one may ask? One of the largest factors in a complex problem is the lack of winter precipitation as well as summer precipitation. The water levels compared to last October are approximately 13 inches lower. Geologists from the United States Corps of Engineers expects another drop of 2 to 3 inches in the next two months. There may be other factors contributing to the lower water levels but the lack of precipitation remains the driving force in low water levels surrounding the Door Peninsula.

The impacts of low water levels will be felt across the entire Great Lakes region. Many Great Lakes freighters require 15-21 feet of water to safely operate. Since the decrease in water levels over the decade, many ships have lightened their payload to navigate the Great Lakes, increasing the cost of raw materials, such as iron ore. With many Great Lakes vessels migrating to Sturgeon Bay in the winter months water levels may not make this the most desirable rest area. Major ports on the Great Lakes will be faced with decisions to dredge their canals and waterways, possibly passing the cost on to the taxpayer.

The panoramic vistas over the Great Lakes are what make Door County the most unique vacation destination in the Midwest. That is why I am proud to call the Door Peninsula home.

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