High water levels causing problems in Chicago

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High water in Chicago marinas is forcing local officials to relocate boats. Photo by Dale Bowman, Chicago Sun Times.

High water in Chicago marinas is forcing local officials to relocate boats. Photo by Dale Bowman, Chicago Sun Times.

Last week at a Mayor’s Fishing Advisory Committee meeting, Ben Alden, manager of operations for Westrec Marina in Chicago, said in a statement, “With the high water, we encourage anglers to exercise caution.”

With a very wet spring, Chicago Sun Times reporter Dave Bowman described rising Lake Michigan levels in the Chicago Sun Times on June 1. Local officials had started moving boats from Diversey Harbor, where clearance under the Lake Shore Drive bridge was down to 10 feet. At 59th Street Harbor and inner Jackson Harbor, clearance was around 11 feet.

Last Tuesday, Chicago Harbors posted:

“Lake Michigan water levels are higher than they have been in decades and are proving to be very challenging for all of us this year. The current water levels are about 8 inches higher than last year and are expected to go even higher in June and July. We recognize that this is going to create some issues, particularly for those harbors with bridges.”

Boaters who can’t transit beneath the bridge at Diversey were told to fill out transfer requests, and Chicago Harbors would try to accommodate others who can’t get into 59th Street or inner Jackson Harbor.

Those with boats on Belmont A Dock were told to leave slack in their lines because of “significant seiching.” If the waters continue to rise, the boats may have to be moved.

In Pittsburgh on Sunday, the National Weather Service issues a recreational boating advisory for the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers because of high water and currents. The weather service said the advisory will last through Wednesday.

Also on Sunday, WHBL in Madison, Wis., reported that the state’s department of natural resources is urging “all water users to check local water conditions, to know the area’s weather forecasts and to wear your life jackets.” The wet spring has put many Wisconsin lakes, streams and rivers into flood stage.

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