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    Re: Illinois drainage (Michigan drainage)
    From: Bob Batten
    Date: 2005 Nov 22, 16:28 -0500
    Bill,
        As a life-long resident and sailor in the Detroit area, I'll put in my two cents' worth regarding great lakes drainage in my vacinity:
        The water flow south out of Lake Huron first goes through the St Clair River which is deep enough that no dredging is required for shipping.  The St Clair River empties into Lake St Clair which is a shallow basin averaging 15 feet or so deep and about 25 statute miles in diameter.  This is the major recreational boating area for the greater Detroit region.  The Eastern side of the lake is much shallower, with marshes that provide good fishing.  A shipping channel of about 30 feet deep was dredged across the lake. The flow out of Lake St Clair is to the South, forming the Detroit River.  The Detroit River is naturally deep in portions just south of Lake St Clair.  It gets wider and shallower at it's southern end.  30 foot channels have been dredged for ships going to and from Lake Erie.  The Livingston Channel (down-bound) is quite narrow -- wide enough for the large ore carriers -- but very uncomfortable for me sailing (actually motoring) with them through there.  I have slowed to a crawl at times, to let a freighter pass in the wider sections of the river so that he doesn't pass us in that narrow channel.  I can attest that the 30 foot dredged channels have not eroded at all, let alone to the sixty feet mentioned.  My depth sounder has shown depths of 30 to 34 feet in the channels -- consistently.  There may be areas in the Detroit River and the St Clair River as deep as 60 feet, but not in channels that have been dredged.  These 30 foot channels were dredged many decades ago and have not made a measureable difference in the water flow in these rivers, from what I've heard.  Increasing the depth of a channel from 10 feet to 30 feet deep for a few hundred feet width isn't a very big percentage of a river a mile or more in width.  It's not a much bigger pipe.
        The Eastern end of Lake Erie is also somewhat shallow, with several islands.  There are marshes along the Western shore of Lake Erie i.e. shallow.  The shipping lanes are well marked and many of the larger pleasure boats follow the shipping lanes.
        An interesting aspect of the Detroit River is that it's southerly flow takes an "S" curve at the city of Detroit, so that for that mile or two, it is flowing West.  This is the only major city in the US where you look south to see Canada (the city of Windsor, Ontario).  There are squiggles in the border along the top of Maine where you might look south to see a piece of Canada, but those areas are small and with sparce population.
        All this to comment on erosion to sixty feet!
    Bob Batten
    Waterford, Michigan


    Bill wrote:
    Frank wrote:
    
      
    The Chicago River famously was  reversed in 1900.
        
    
    The fact is getting off the deck and onto older fixed finger piers is quite
    a task as I approach 60.  A 3' to 4' climb (or leap returning). Some use
    ladders when available. Some blame the Chicago drinking water and river
    reversal for the drop of lakes Huron and Michigan.  If I recall, there is
    also a sizeable water withdrawal far north.
    
    As I understand it, Superior's level is above Huron/Michigan.  Hence the St.
    Mary's River rapids and locks.  Connected by a strait, Michigan and Huron
    are at the same level for all practical purposes.  Bringing us to Huron
    draining into Erie.
    
    Fact or not, I do not know, so request hard facts.  A Detroit native I sail
    with asserts the Army Corp of Engineers dredged a 30' channel for commercial
    shipping purposes between Huron and Erie.  He also claims that the channel
    has eroded to 60'.
    
    Bottom line, bigger "pipe" for Huron to drain into Erie.
    
    Any opinions/scientific evidence on what is fact or fiction in the above?
    Or how things will change when that nice little fault running through
    Indiana lets go big time? <G>
    
    Bill
    
    
      
       
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