Rep. Upton, Mayors Muhammad & Garey Discuss High Water Level Solutions

Finding solutions to mitigate what’s expected to be a record high for Lake Michigan and all of the Great Lakes this summer is on the minds of many people, including Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad. He joined Congressman Fred Upton, St. Joseph Mayor Mike Garey, and the city managers of both cities to tour a St. Joseph marina and the riverfront in Benton Harbor Thursday morning. Muhammad says it’s impacting more than just the shore, as the high water is also to blame for flooding along Main Street in Benton Harbor.

“It’s also backing up and affecting our riverfront, which we have 625 acres which we are looking to aggressively develop,” said Muhammad.

Upton says South Haven’s Dyckman Bridge is in danger, and that could impact response times for police and fire.

“They’re talking about if the (Black River) level goes up, the gears themselves will be underwater,” said Upton. “It will be not serviceable. They will have to probably keep that bridge open, for perhaps the whole summer.”

St. Joseph Mayor Mike Garey says what we’re seeing now is unprecedented.

“The speed of the increase of the water level, that’s what’s been so surprising. We’ve had high water levels before, but it’s been more of a gentle curve. This really happened in just the last two or three years.”

Upton says meetings are ongoing in Washington, DC on the issue along with internationally with Canada. Options to draw down the water include diverting rivers away from Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula and increasing the flow over Niagara Falls.