June 26, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Study: Low Great Lakes water levels will be costly

Wendy Kmiotek, 39, walks on a Port Sanilac pier with her husband, Kevin Kmiotek, 48, both of Attica, in 2013. (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)

Detroit A study finds that if water levels remain low on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River this will have a negative economic impact on the region that could reach $18 billion by 2050.

The report released Thursday by the Mowat Centre used a climate-change scenario that projects future water levels near the low end of the historic range. According to the study, much of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence basin beginning in 1997-98 has experienced the longest extended period of lower water levels since coordinated measurement began in 1918.

The entities that would face an economic hit include recreational boating and fishing; commercial shipping and harbors; and rural groundwater users.

The study was conducted for the Council of the Great Lakes Region.