In January, when Lake Michigan’s chronically low water level reached its nadir, Leland Harbormaster Russell Dzuba faced the prospect of closing the popular harbor to keep commercial fishing vessels and pleasure boats from running aground in the shallow channel.
Leland is one of dozens of Great Lakes harbors that have struggled for two decades with below average lake levels that damaged boats and caused freighters to carry less cargo to avoid hitting bottom. Closing Leland’s harbor would have been devastating, Dzuba said.
“Our economy lives and dies on whether that channel (to Lake Michigan) is open,” he said.
The lake level crisis abated in April, when torrential rains caused lake levels to rise at an almost unprecedented rate.