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News from around Wisconsin (10:12 p.m. 12/15/09)

Panel: Great Lakes not losing extra water

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Lakes Huron and Michigan are not losing extra billions of gallons of water daily because of navigational dredging as a Canadian group contends, a scientific panel said Tuesday.

After a two-year, $3.5 million study, the U.S.-Canadian panel concluded there was no reason to stem the flow from Lake Huron by placing structures in a river that connects Huron with Lake Erie to the south.

The report disagreed with Georgian Bay Forever, a Canadian environmental charity that has commissioned engineering studies of the St. Clair River. Those studies found that human activities, primarily dredging during the early 1960s, enlarged the river bottom and increased the volume of water moving down the river from Lake Huron to Lake Erie.

Because of that, the group said, Lake Huron is losing up to 12 billion gallons per day in addition to its normal outflow — enough to fill 10,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The excessive loss is causing artificially low levels in Lakes Huron and Michigan, according to Georgian Bay Forever. Geologists consider those lakes a single water body because they converge and have the same surface levels.

Low water has been a contentious issue for a decade on both lakes, causing millions in losses for shippers, marina owners and other businesses, although levels have edged upward the past couple of years and are near their historical averages.

The government report said several factors — especially precipitation and evaporation — have influenced differences in levels since the early 1960s.

Big 10 plans statement on possible expansion

CHICAGO (AP) — The Big Ten plans to make an announcement regarding the possibility of expanding the 11-team conference.

Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman said Monday that a 3 p.m. announcement regarding what he called “potential expansion” is planned. He declined to elaborate.

Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez last week told the university’s board that he thinks the conference is serious about adding a 12th team.

Conference Commissioner Jim Delany as recently as March called expansion a “back-burner” issue.

The Big Ten last added a team in 1990 when Penn State joined. The school had been an independent.

Maymon leaves Marquette’s team

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Freshman forward Jeronne Maymon has left the Marquette basketball team, leaving Buzz Williams without his first recruit as head coach.

Maymon, the two-time AP Wisconsin high school player of the year, got off to a rough start during fall conditioning drills and later hurt his hip.

He averaged 4.0 points and 4.2 rebounds in nine games as a reserve for Marquette, missing a Dec. 5 loss to North Carolina State with a hip pointer.

Williams, the second-year coach, didn’t make it seem anything was wrong when talking about Maymon before the Golden Eagles’ 72-63 loss at Wisconsin on Saturday. Maymon played a season-high 22 minutes. His departure leaves Marquette (7-3) with nine scholarship players available.

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