State Representative Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay) hosted a briefing for legislators Thursday on the Great Lakes water levels and their economical impact on Wisconsin.
Currently Lake Michigan is rising after hitting a record-low in January. A wet April helped the levels recover, however Lake Michigan’s average water level for May was still below the average level from the previous winter’s average low.
Bies says the general public may not realize how much of an impact a sinking water level can have on coastal economies, but he and other legislators with constituents on Wisconsin shorelines have formed a Great Lakes Caucus. According to Bies, water-related recreation around the Great Lakes generates more than $3 billion and the shipbuilding industry contributes more than $1 billion while employing about 3,500 jobs.
The meeting brought the caucus, along with other interested legislators, face-to-face with experts in coastal management and Door County Department of Soil and Water Conservation head Bill Schuster.
That same panel will make at least four visits to different Great Lakes coastal areas in the coming months, including a stop in Sturgeon Bay.
The dates are not set yet for the visits, but Bies and the caucus want to make sure the state keeps the low water level issue on the front burner instead of letting it wash away with the tide.