Americans With Lake Homes Beg Canada for Help

Lakefront property is often expensive. It offers easy access to boating, skiing, swimming and fishing. The real estate also may offer spectacular views. Many owners of this kind of property on the Great Lakes have a problem. Rising water will sweep away their property, and soon their homes. So, they have turned to the only hope for a solution: the Canadian government. That may not be much of a solution, even for the desperate.

According to Bridge, a nonprofit news organization in Michigan, the Canadian province of Ontario is among the roots of the problem. In Saugatuck, on Michigan’s western shore on Lake Michigan, the problem is particularly acute. “More than 800 miles to the north, the province owns dams that release 42,000 gallons of water a second into Lake Superior. Known as the Long Lac and Ogoki diversions, the dams are part of Ontario’s vast hydropower system and, every day, dump the equivalent of two medium-size rivers such as the Kalamazoo and Muskegon rivers into the Great Lakes.” The property owners want Ontario to close the dams, just for a little while.

The begging does not get around the issue that global climate change is the root cause of the long-term problem. Closing the dams may help for a brief period.

There is no reason for Canada to cooperate. The Long Lac and Ogoki diversions drive hydroelectric power for northern Ontario. It is hard to imagine how this energy could be replaced.

Without a change by the Ontario government, the flooding will continue, or get worse. The very rich can build seawalls, which may help them indefinitely. For those who are not rich, moving away is the only solution. The Canadians are unlikely to solve what is mostly a U.S. problem, particularly when it has no solution to replacing the power generation.