water levels

Mainville and Craymer (2005)

 

Normally, the waters of Lake Michigan sit around 580 feet


Jim Sorbie / Flickr

 

People who have homes on the sandy, eroding shores of Lake Michigan don’t have a lot of protections when it comes to insurance coverage. 

Regular homeowners insurance does not cover flooding or any land movement, including erosion of the land beneath a structure.

Banks that give loans to lakefront homes require flood insurance, which could possibly provide some erosion coverage.

The Association of State Floodplain Managers Alan Lulloff says erosion that happens after a storm could be covered.

Gary Langley, an FAA certified sUAS pilot / Interlochen Public Radio

 

Fishtown officials are looking to move three shanties — historic buildings — from their original location in an effort to repair foundations rotted by high water levels this summer. 

The shanties will be placed roughly 10 to 15 feet back from their current location. They will be encased in weatherproof material to protect the structures from Michigan’s harsh winter weather.

The price tag to move them and replace the foundations is about $1 million, says Amanda Holmes, executive director of Fishtown Preservation. 

Gary Langley / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, how rising water levels and shoreline erosion are threatening homeowners on the coast of Lake Michigan.

Plus, how businesses in Fishtown are already falling into the water.

Property owners along the Lake Michigan shoreline are worried about the rapid erosion caused by high water levels on the lake.
Gary Langley, FAA certified sUAS pilot / Interlochen Public Radio

As Lake Michigan water levels remain at a near record high, more and more shoreline is being eaten away everyday. Large trees are sliding down steep banks into the water, wooden staircases are being torn out and property owners are panicking. As the fall storm season approaches, some worry their homes will be next.


A flooded beach near Lake Michigan.
Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

The last major outbreak of avian botulism on Lake Michigan was in 2016, when hundreds of dead birds washed up on shore. The bacterial disease has affected waterfowl like loons and mergansers in the Great Lakes for decades, but high water levels on the lakes are good news for the birds for now.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Coast Guard says current high water levels increase the risk of Electric Shock Drowning.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

High water levels in the state have the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Coast Guard concerned about Electric Shock Drowning.

 

The U.S. Geological Survey reports since the turn of the last century, water levels of Lake Michigan have increased in a series of even higher peaks. One was in 1964. An expensive house in St. Joseph was taken by the lake.

There was damage up and down Michigan’s coast. Another high lake water moment spanned from 1985 to 1987, and again there was a lot of damage to homes, beachfront property and industry.

Lake Michigan residents and business owners are expressing concern over rising water levels. Just three years ago, however, the concern was about record low water levels in the Great Lakes.

Al Steinman, president of the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University, told Stateside that there’s no need to worry about such a significant fluctuation in lake levels.

“People need to be patient,” Steinman said. “These water levels go up and down. It’s part of the natural cycle.”

The Great Lakes sunk to some of their lowest water levels ever two years ago. People were concerned about the low levels then, but today people are concerned for the opposite reason – water levels are high.

Why Are The Great Lakes On The Rise?

Oct 20, 2014

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Lakes Michigan and Huron have recovered after more than a decade of low water levels.

Government scientists say the lakes rose above their historic average this month.

Just two years ago, the water was at the lowest level ever recorded.

The quick recovery has stifled an effort to engineer a solution to the problem of low lake levels in Huron and Michigan.

But proponents say it would be shortsighted to forget about the issue.

National Weather Service

Ice on northern Lake Michigan is starting to cut off lake effect snow in the region.

The lake is entirely frozen over, north of Beaver Island. That means winds coming out of the northwest will not pick up moisture from the lake and drop it as snow on places like Petoskey and Gaylord.

Lakes Michigan and Huron are at their lowest level in decades. And there is growing pressure to raise the water level with some kind of structure in the St. Clair River. The international commission that manages the Great Lakes is expected to respond to that pressure in February. A report submitted to the commission discourages the idea. This week on Points North we’ll hear about the debate over fixing the water level on Lakes Michigan and Huron.