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Representative Bies Letter to the Army Corp of Engineers - Low Water Levels 10-2012

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letter from Representative Bies to the Army Corps of Engineers
   October 9, 2012U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Great Lakes and Ohio RiverAttn: Brigadier General Margaret Bercham, Commander550 Main Street, Room 10032   Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-3222   Dear Brigadier General Bercham:I represent Wisconsin’s First Assembly District, which includes all of Door County. The DoorPeninsula separates the southern part of Green Bay from Lake Michigan. In 2008, I was veryinvolved with the passage of our state’s Great Lakes Water Compact, because I was extremelyconcerned about the impact the diversion of water (especially from Lake Michigan) would haveon our state and specifically, Door County. I believe the great lakes are in invaluable resourceand need protection.I’m writing to you today, because I’m extremely concerned about the low water levelswe’re currently experiencing. As you drive through the Village of Ephraim (one of themost scenic parts of Door County) you are taken back by the baron docks and peoplesetting up lawn chairs way out into the lake. Door County is a popular tourismdestination, often called the “Cape Cod of the Midwest”. What lures people here is thescenic beauty and that’s beginning to be in jeopardy. Many of the people who live hererely on a successful summer season to make ends meet.I’m also extremely worried about the Detroit Harbor Navigable Channel along WashingtonIsland. Lake levels are critically low threatening ferry service to the main land. I’ve beenworking with the Governor’s office, the Department of Transportation, the Town Chair of Washington, and the ferry company to identify available funding to conduct necessary dredging.If nothing is done, I’m very concerned for the people who live and visit Washington Island.Years ago the Army Corp of Engineers dredged the St. Clair River, which has greatly impactedwater levels and caused a tremendous amount of erosion along the basin because it can’t sustainthe amount of water flowing through. I’m concerned these actions are partially responsible forthe low water levels in Door County and I fear the condition will only get worse if its notaddressed. Over the last few weeks I have been contacted by a number of my constituents whoshare my same concerns.  I used to receive regular updates from the ACE about the water levels in our great lakes. Ihaven’t received that data in some time so I would appreciate a current assessment. I would alsoappreciate any information/data on the cycle of the water levels over the past 10 years and anyplans the ACE has to address future water levels or shortages.Thank you in advance for your efforts to respond to my request.Sincerely,Garey Bies
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