A dock curves out into Cass Lake May 14 at Marshbank Park in West Bloomfield.

A dock curves out into Cass Lake May 14 at Marshbank Park in West Bloomfield.

Photo by Kayla Dimick


Local water levels stable despite Great Lakes stats

By: Kayla Dimick | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published May 22, 2019

 Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash said that across the board, lake levels are on the high side.

Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash said that across the board, lake levels are on the high side.

Photo by Kayla Dimick

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Despite high water levels throughout the state, local bodies of water are stable, officials said.

According to John Roda, West Bloomfield Township environmental manager, the township has had a few flooding issues due to a wet spring, but nothing connected to high lake levels.

“We’re constantly dealing with flooding complaints, draining complaints and things of that nature, but it’s all site specific,” Roda said. “As far as high lake levels go, I have not received a call or had to respond to anybody because of high lake levels.”

Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash said that across the board, lake levels are on the high side, but the county has a way of controlling each lake level.

“Each lake level is court-ordered, so we have a system for each lake. Generally speaking, they’re a little high in the spring because of runoff and the rain we’ve had,” Nash said. “That’s why we lower the levels in the winter, because in the spring it always comes in more.”

Nash said the levels of the water must be kept within a half-inch of what the state mandates.

Depending on the weather, crews will either release water or add water back into local bodies of water to comply with state law. In the summer, that sometimes means adding more water, and in the winter and early spring, taking some out, he said.

According to the National Weather Service, throughout the month of April, the Detroit/Pontiac area crept up on a rainfall record.

The NWS reports that the area received 5.82 inches of rain throughout the month of April, approximately 2.92 inches higher than average. The highest amount of April rainfall recorded was 6.89 inches in April 1947.

Throughout the state, however, lake levels have reached historic highs.

According to a press release by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, on April 26, Lake St. Clair was 8 inches above the level from March and just 1 inch below the record high from 1986.

The sudden rise is the result of a snowy winter in northern Michigan, followed by recent rain and easterly winds that caused choppy waters and brought large waves far ashore.

According to the report by the Corps of Engineers’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Center for Operational Oceanic Products and Services International Joint Commission, Detroit District, Lake Superior is 4 inches above what it was a month ago, while the levels of lakes Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and Erie are 7 to 8 inches above their levels of a month ago. Lake Ontario has risen 12 inches in the same time frame.

In addition, all of the Great Lakes are higher than their levels of a year ago, ranging from 3 inches above last year’s level for Lake Erie, to 9 inches above last year’s level for Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Lake Superior is also just an inch below its April record-high levels.

Officials report that all of the lakes are projected to continue their seasonal rise over the next 30 days. Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are projected to climb 4 inches, while Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie are predicted to rise an inch. Lake Ontario is forecasted to rise 11 inches over the next month as well.

Staff Writer Kristyne Demske contributed to this report.

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