IUGLSB is unaware of how low water levels affects Islanders

EDITOR’S NOTE: This letter was sent to the Canadian Chair of the International Upper Great Lakes Study Board on August 18 and has been reprinted here at the author’s request.

To the Expositor:

Dear Mr. Yuzyk,

First of all, many thanks to you and your staff for the meeting that you attended in Kagawong. It was an impressive turn out, that obviously was a surprise to all present. It would be interesting to consider the total shoreline that the audience represented, and that is my primary reason for writing this letter.

Everyone understands that this is a complicated ecosystem. By referencing the effect of water level control, to local people, in the St. Clair River and loss of Sturgeon spawning habitat in the same system, your presentation became alarmingly slanted to the South. In fact, the 200 people present were worn down by the lack of sensitivity to the predicament in which we in this Northern ecosystem find ourselves.

It would appear that the IUGLS Committee is unaware of how adversely affected residents of Upper Lake Huron and Manitoulin Island are by these low water levels, hence, the reason for such a large attendance at the Kagawong meeting.

Please note the attached images taken on our property on the south shore, northwest of Providence Bay. As you can see, our once full bays are turning into meadows. Fish and amphibian habitat are being lost, low water levels deter circulation, resulting in a rapid build up of sludge, and phragmites are replacing natural vegetation in what were pristine and valuable wetlands. This is a situation that is repeating itself all around the Island and the North Shore and, I presume, elsewhere too .

There will be increasing pressure in the near future on the reserves of fresh water in the Great Lakes. Demand is not going to decrease. A more positive solution by the committee is required than essentially letting nature take its course. The livelihood of many people around Upper Lake Huron and Manitoulin Island in particular, are seriously at risk. We sincerely hope that the committee will recommend a form of control that results in an increase in water levels in Upper Lake Huron and will help to correct the ever-worsening situation here. Future generations will thank you.

Thank you for your consideration and your efforts with this issue,

Yours sincerely,
Andrew Poynter
Kagawong