Interactive Tour – Lake Superior Outflows
Posted on: November 23, 2017

View the interactive tour full size in a new window.

Lake Superior is at the second highest November level ever recorded, gaining water when it usually looses it. Ever wonder how outflows from Lake Superior are determined and regulated at any given point in time?

Related Nov. 14th Article – Superior Almost One Foot Above Average 

Outflow at the St. Marys River is controlled by the Lake Superior Board of Control. If you haven’t had the opportunity to view the St. Marys River and related Lake Superior control structures up close, a great way of doing so is via the map and storyboard on the Lake Superior Board of Control website. Multiple considerations and facilities come into play and the Board’s online tool is an excellent way to improve understanding of how flow regulation from Superior is accomplished. If you’d like to take away the mystery, visit the graphic storyboard. The interactive graphic has several sections, as listed below:

  • Flow Control Structures
  • Flow Control Regulations
  • Distribution of Flow Across the St. Marys River, Including the Rapids
  • Municipal and Industrial Water Use
  • Shipping and Navigation
  • The Canadian Lock
  • The U.S. Locks
  • The St. Marys Rapids
  • The Compensating Works (control structures compensating for flow to hydro-power)
  • Determining the Gate Setting
  • Fishery Remedial Works (protecting the critical fishery associated with the rapids)
  • Whitefish Island
  • Hydropower
  • Brookfield Renewable Energy.

The Lake Superior Board of Control was established by the International Joint Commission in 1914. It is tasked with setting Lake Superior outflows, overseeing and maintaining the various structures through which the outflow runs, ensuring flow rates are met for the environmentally sensitive fishery in the St. Marys River rapids, measuring flow rates and related research. The board is comprised of only two members, one from Canada and one from USA. Board members are representatives of agencies such as the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers and Environment and Climate Change Canada. Both Canadian and U.S. board members are supported by three staff members each, including one on-site representative. The Board meets regularly with the International Joint Commission and annually with the public.


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