ANN ARBOR (WWJ/AP) – Federal experts will discuss the causes and potential consequences of low Great Lakes water levels during a Thursday seminar in Ann Arbor that also will be broadcast on the Web.

The seminar, which is open to the public, begins at 3 p.m. Thursday in Forum Hall of Palmer Commons on the University of Michigan campus.

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The program will feature presentations by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Detroit district, and the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Levels on most of the Great Lakes have been below average since the late 1990s. Scientists say lack of precipitation and high evaporation rates are the primary causes.

Lakes Huron and Michigan, which dropped to their lowest point on record in January, are expected to hover two to four inches above monthly record lows through September, said Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology with the Corps office. None of the other lakes will set records unless the weather turns unexpectedly dry, he said.

All the lakes are expected to stay below their historical averages in coming months with the possible exception of Ontario, which has partially regulated levels.

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For more information or to watch the webinar, click here.

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