Grave Concerns over High Lake Levels: ERCA


WINDSOR — The record high lake levels aren't going away and officials with the Essex Region Conservation Authority are expressing "grave concerns."

Lake Erie is currently 12 inches higher at this time compared to last year and Lake St. Clair is 17 inches higher in the same time period.

Director of Watershed Management Tim Byrne says given the current lake levels,  it is highly likely that lake levels last year will be exceeded.

With the normal spring storm events or winds, Byrne believes more flood will occur with breakwall that have weakened.

He says breakwalls don't heal themselves once they are damaged, they require structural repairs that haven't been completed.

The lack of ice cover this winter doesn't help, says Byrne.

"The eminency of flooding now is greater," he says.  "Our levels have increased dramatically over where they were last year at the same time of the year.  

Byrne says if this is the starting point for the year, the situation will get worse.

"Starting out in the year as high as we are is very problematic should we see the normal spring storm events, or the normal  winds that occur as some of the storm systems track up along the eastern sea board."

ERCA staff are inspecting flood and erosion control structures and is working with the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority to develop short and long-term strategies. 

--With files from AM800's Rusty Thomson