Huron County Integrated Assessment of Extreme Water Levels

Project Team

George Arhonditsis – University of Toronto at Scarborough
Lynne Peterson – Local Government and Integrated Policy
Agnes Richards – Environment Canada
Wayne Caldwell – University of Guelph
Jocelynne Hudgins – Elmira College
Meghan Allerton, Kate Proctor - Consultants

Project Summary

The Great Lakes Water Levels Integrated Assessment aims to help decision makers address the challenges and opportunities posed by Great lakes water level variability.
For a decade, ending only recently, Ontario’s Huron County experienced the full gamut of issues related to low water levels along its 62 miles of shoreline, with the Huron coast registering the lowest water levels in recorded history in January 2013. In the last two years, water levels have rebounded with near record precipitation. This has improved the significant challenges low water levels posed for commercial shipping, recreational boating, ecosystem health and water quality, but high water levels have resulted in tourist complaints that beaches have shrunk, and bluff erosion is threatening some 550 cottages and other waterfront structures.
Based on the findings from and relationships developed during the planning grant phase, this team will work with the multi-stakeholder Huron County Water Protection Steering Committee to develop a site-specific description of issues arising from both high and low water extremes, together with potential actions and options that could be taken by governmental, environmental, business and residential stakeholders. Additional project partners include the Maitland Valley and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authorities, Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation, and Rural Ontario Institute
This project received a $50,000 Integrated Assessment Grant in 2015.