Citing drought that has led to low water levels, Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken asked in a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee this week to add money to support the dredging of Great Lakes harbors and channels so as not to disrupt shipping. The senators are hoping the committee will add the support to current legislation already being considered on the Senate floor. They warn in the letter that certain ports along the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway will be to shallow in coming months to accommodate full loads, leading to inefficient shipping.
Water levels in Lake Superior are status quo, and the Duluth-Superior port does not have to worry about the extra dredging that would come from the proposed legislation, according to Adele Yorde of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. But Yorde added that if shallow water affects shipping at any of the nearly 140 Great Lakes ports, it affects the port here. For example, a ship leaving the Duluth harbor knowing that a port in Lake Huron is shallow, it would be forced to leave cargo behind.