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Erosion carves away dunes and threatens homes on Lake Michigan

Erosion caused by high water and strong winds is carving away dunes that support homes along Lake Michigan.

HOLLAND, Michigan — Along some stretches of the West Michigan lake shore the beach is gone, eroded by relentless pounding from waves and wind.  

Stairs to expensive homes on Lakeside Avenue in Park Township no longer reach the sand. Decks and trees have toppled into the lake.  A house is now dangerously close to the edge of the bluff. 

Property owners blame the combination of high water and strong wind.

“We have high water, which we have had before, but now it’s coupled with high winds and more stormy weather,” explains property owner Barb Kote. “There was so much destruction.”

A new report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shows every Great Lake is well above the long-term monthly average. Lakes Michigan and Huron are almost three feet higher.

“I think climate change is real,” says Kote.

“We are going to do whatever we can to protect this beautiful property because we have made a hefty investment,” says homeowner Mary Jo Gray. “Looking forward to many years here.”

For some historical context, take a look at this short series from 1985 where 13 ON YOUR SIDE looked at lake levels and beach erosion eating away at the shoreline.

More news on the lakeshore on 13 ON YOUR SIDE:

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