Dereth Glance was a US Commissioner of the IJC who ended her tenure at the end of August 2016.
"I’m Dereth Glance, I’m the US Commissioner with the International Joint Commission. It was the high water period of 1986 and we were camping in the Harrisville state park. I was about 9 years old and sleeping in a tent. At Harrisville State Park you could sleep right up on the beach, it’s just amazing. In the middle of the night my parents came and picked me up out of tent because there was a storm. We went into the van and it was very different. The water levels had come up, it may have been a lot of water at that point of time. I saw tents floating out into Lake Huron. We got to go into town and have a nice warm breakfast and come back to see what had happened. Many folks lost their tents. It was a bad moment, I knew.
These lakes were so powerful, much more powerful than us, and we had to work with them and be prepared for their changes, their great beauty. The fact that they change is what makes them so beautiful and why the beaches were wonderful. I moved to Syracruse, New York where I was just 45 minutes from the shores of Lake Ontario. Lake Ontario was very different then.
My formative memories of Lake Michigan and Huron in particular. I realized, when starting to get involved in the IJC about 13 years ago, about the way that we’ve compressed water levels on Lake Ontario. Not allowing those changes to happen, harming the coastal ecosystem, degrading the wetlands. Not allowing the lake to be as resilient and strong as it is when it goes through the changes that need to happen in higher levels of water. We’ve worked very hard to balance all of the interests, the folks that live along the shoreline, those that enjoy the wildlife – the flora, the fauna, the shippers. There’s so many uses.
That’s what is brilliant about the Great Lakes is that there is multiples uses and some of them have inherent complexities. It’s important to have a large perspective, like the IJC, to look bi-nationally at what is in the best interests of all while considering all of those individual interests. It is the gift of the glaciers, it is ours to steward. It is such a privilege and an honor to be able to swim in their shores, walk the beaches, and work to protect them today and for future generations."
Dereth's Watermark is Lake Huron, Michigan.