This peer-reviewed article summarizes an opinion survey of property owners on Minnesota Point and their views about the causes of water level fluctuation in Lake Superior. The study found that residents attributed lake level fluctuation on manipulation by the International Joint Commission, rather than other limnological, hydrologic or climate-related factors. Abstract: "Based on a systematic sample among the residents of Minnesota Point, a freshwater spit/baymouth bar on the southwest shore of Lake Superior, this study tests a number of hypotheses related to the perceived causes of lake level fluctuation and shore property hazards. The study found that despite significant differences in property setting and the nature of flood and erosion hazards between the lakeside and bayside of the spit, the majority of the residents perceived that their property hazards were induced by the manipulation of lake levels by the International Joint Commission (IJC). Consequently, one in every two respondents would like to lower the lake level by amounts ranging from 30cm to more than one m. The study points out the physical limitations of controlling water levels and recommends that greater attention should be given to shoreline management, which provide guidelines for protecting existing coastal structures and for developing minimum standards for future encroachment of the remaining unused sections of the shoreline. "The popular misperception of current levels of high water levels in the Great Lakes is an example of misplaced blame for natural phenomena. The regulation of lake levels by the IJC is postulated as the main cause of lake level fluctuation and very little attention is given to more important natural causes. Such an attitude is pervasive among coastal residents on the Great Lakes who tend to absolve themselves of any responsibility for occupying the hazardous edge of water by resorting to this explanation. “To cope with flood and erosion hazards, many property owners have made use of a range of protection measures, but most of them perceived lower lake levels as a higher priority than providing shore protection measures. Consequently, very few respondents would like to bear full responsibility for shore protection measures, despite the fact that they made the choice to live on the hazardous edge of water."
Rasid, Harun; Hufferd, James.
Hazards of Living on the Edge of Water: The Case of Minnesota Point, Duluth, Minnesota.
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