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Environment & Climate Change

Great Lakes water levels are up, but no need for panic

Lake Michigan residents and business owners are expressing concern over rising water levels. Just three years ago, however, the concern was about record low water levels in the Great Lakes.

Al Steinman, president of the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University, told Stateside that there’s no need to worry about such a significant fluctuation in lake levels.

“People need to be patient,” Steinman said. “These water levels go up and down. It’s part of the natural cycle.”

It’s easy to see why people are taking notice of the water levels. Holland photographer Tony Reidsma has been documenting the rise. 

“For the before image, I’m standing on the pre-dune,” Reidsma said in an email to Stateside. “But the pre-dune is completely gone today, so it’s impossible to frame the landscape the same as I did in 2014.”

Steinman recognizes that there will be more erosion than what is usually experienced, but he says it's nothing that needs serious attention. If anything, Michigan should be more concerned about its wetlands, where the environment’s health is at the risk of incoming invasive species.

“It’s frustrating… but the reality is: give it enough time [and] nature will take care of itself.”

After all, as Steinman reminded us, trying to control nature is a fool’s errand.

Hear Stateside’s full interview with Steinman below.

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