Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Lake Superior water levels are now reported as being only one inch below average.
According to the Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Superior levels fluctuate an average of 33 inches annually from evaporation alone, which is up from 22 inches annually in the 1960s.
However, this year's cooler water and air temperatures coupled with longer ice cover in the spring have helped boost Lake Superior's levels to its current point.
Lakes Michigan and Huron are up seven inches, but are still 17 inches below average, meaning ships still have carry lighter loads in Lake Superior to make the voyage through the seaway.
Port Authority Facilities Manager Jim Sharrow says the Duluth Port is working with the Corps of engineers to deepen the most critical parts of the Saint Mary's River.
"Three percent of the gross national product of the United States of America has a component of raw material that moves through the St. Mary's River," said Sharrow, "how can we afford not to maximize its potential?"
Sharrow added that the Port is still working with Congres in an effort to utilize all of the Harbor Maintenance Fund for much–needed harbor, and channel, dredging operations.