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Report: Great Lakes in “Hot Water” Thanks to Climate Change

November 28, 2007

Madison, WI – Lower water levels and increased demand to divert Great Lakes water are two likely consequences of global warming, according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation.

According to the report, climate change threatens to lower water levels by as much as three feet in Lake Michigan. George Meyer with the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation says that would be a major blow to the state's economy, and especially damaging to tourism and shipping.

"Wisconsin has tremendous potential losses for recreational boating, for our ports, for our habitat along the Great Lakes. We'd be tremendously impacted if in fact there are continuing lower levels in the Great Lakes."

The report also names a second threat: Climate change is likely to cause more droughts in the western and southern U.S., which will increase pressure to divert Great Lakes water. The report recommends the states that border the lakes should ratify the Great Lakes Compact in order to preserve their quality, and quantity, of water. Because Wisconsin is one of only two states not currently considering laws based on the Great Lakes Compact, Meyer says the report should "turn up the heat" on state lawmakers.

"Strong Great Lakes Compact legislation is needed to assure that we minimize the damage of climate change on Lakes Michigan and Superior and the other Great Lakes."

The report is available at www.nwf.org.

Rob Ferrett/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WI