History lessons must be learned on shore erosion
Many of us dream about living near the edge of the lakeshore, overlooking the majesty of Lake Michigan. That dream for the few that do have homes and summer cottages on the shore is now turning into a nightmare.
A combination of near-record water levels, winds and shore-battering waves has been eroding the shore over the past year. Experts are saying we should brace for more of the same in 2020.
However, it’s nothing new. Homes tumbled into the Great Lakes in the 1980s due to shore erosion.
Even Jesus had something to say about it 2,000 years ago: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
We have compassion for those who are seeing their homes and cottages become endangered as the lakeshore erodes. They were lawfully allowed to build on the dunes, and not much can be done about them now. Shame on insurance companies if they insured such structures in the past and are pulling out now, leaving property owners without financial protection from Mother Nature’s wrath.
But, going forward, we urge lakeshore municipalities to tighten restrictions on dune construction practices. State and federal agencies should jump in and further restrict new construction from harm’s way.
We hear that fortifying the shore by building artificial embankments may lead to worsened erosion elsewhere along the shoreline. In the long run, you can’t fool Mother Nature.
It’s imperative that governments establish setbacks farther from the shore and the potentially eroding dunes. And it must be done as soon as possible, because it will happen again.
— Grand Haven Tribune