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Lake Superior Regulation Plan Formulation Process

David Fay;Rob Caldwell, Travis Dahl, Bryan Tolson, Yin Fan, William Werick, Dave Watkins, Matt McPherson
The primary objective of the IUGLS was to formulate an improved Lake Superior regulation plan, better than the current Plan 1977A. Several plan formulation teams were created, each of which used a different design approach to ensure a thorough search of potential plan options. Some teams developed “rule-curve” plans in which each monthly outflow release is primarily a function of water levels, while other teams used “optimization” rules, in which releases are a function of the desirability of the outcomes. The teams worked in a collaborative competition, where insights that helped one team improve plan performance were shared with other teams to improve the suite of plans developed. All formulators used and provided critical review of the Shared Vision Model and helped sharpen the Study Board’s decision criteria. Plan descriptions were developed to illustrate the general nature of a plan, but do not necessarily represent the final or best-performing version of a particular plan type.
Plan Formulation and Evaluation Group Final Report
NatOpt3 Plan Description
Nat64D Plan Description
Preliminary Draft Regulation Plan Descriptions
Optimization Support for IUGLS Plan Formulation
1955 Modified Rule of 1949 Summary Report
Viewable Data:
50,000-yr Stochastic NBS - IUGLS Fagherazzi Version
Hydrological Input Data for Plan Formulation & Evaluation
Coordinated Great Lakes Regulation & Routing Model (PFEG NBS)
Coordinated Great Lakes Regulation & Routing Model (Stochastic NBS)
Shared Vision Model (Sep 2009 Fencepost Plan Practice)
Shared Vision Model (Tentative Sep 2011 Plan Selection)
Shared Vision Model (Final Nov 2011 Plan Selection)
Additional Data and Information

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Supporting Content (Show)
Main Topics
Lake Superior Regulation
Questions We Asked
Can a regulation plan be designed to perform better than Plan 1977A?
What are the limits of regulation?
View all 13 questions we asked
What constitutes improved plan performance?
What are the main benefits of the new regulation plan?
Does the plan keep Superior between 182.76 and 183.86 m?
Does the plan balance levels of Superior and Michigan-Huron?
Does the plan lower the highest and raise the lowest Michigan-Huron levels?
Does the plan avoid extremely low Superior levels?
Does the plan reduce environmental impacts?
Does the plan minimize disproportionate losses?
Does the plan reduce shoreline protection costs?
Does the plan benefit commercial navigation?
Does the plan benefit hydropower?
Key Findings
Future conditions are uncertain, so a new regulation plan must be robust
Plan 2012 will be more robust and provide important benefits compared to Plan 77A
View all 11 key findings
Superior regulation has a small effect on Michigan-Huron levels
Nine decision criteria were used to evaluate regulation plans
Plan 2012 performs similar to Plan 77A under 20th century NBS
Plan 2012 helps Lake Superior during extreme dry conditions
Plan 2012 provides overall economic improvements
Plan 2012 flow changes will be smaller, benefiting hydropower
St. Marys River flows will be more natural under Plan 2012
Plan 2012 computer code is simpler and easier to manage
Lake levels are unpredictable
Approve Lake Superior Plan 2012
Issue new Orders of Approval
Plan Formulation & Evaluation
Defining the Limits of Regulation