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No 'erosion' mention in Governor Whitmer's State of the State

Gov's road plan gets much of the attention at state of the state Wednesday night in Lansing.

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — In her State of the State address Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer provided details of her Plan B to fix the state's roads.

She announced she'd ask the State Transportation Commission to bond for $3.5 billion to begin making road improvments.

The Governor was silent when it comes to a plan to help lakeshore property owners and municipalities deal with erosion. 

Whitmer did tell those in attendance, "record Great Lakes water levels and their impact on tourism, agriculture and infrastructure speak to the magnitude and the urgency of the challenge ahead."

Not enough for property owners. 

"I can't believe that wasn't an issue last night," said Gary Berdinski, a Muskegon County resident who's looking after a lake shore property where one cottage was recently removed and another might have to be tore down soon.

RELATED: Kruse Park boardwalk closed due to high water levels, erosion

 "I think it's just a matter of time," said Berdinski. "Because that bluff right there goes almost straight down."

He wonders if the Governor and lawmakers in Lansing understand the impact erosion is having along Lake Michigan.

"In Muskegon County there are probably 20 or 30 homes that are facing this right now," Berdinski said. 

The erosion's impact is being felt on public beaches where massive clean ups will be needed this spring.

 "Last fall we started to see some of the debris wash up," said Muskegon State Park unit supervisor Greg Sherburn.

The Muskegon State Park has a new beach comber to use this summer. The equipment will be able to remove small debris that cover the scenic beach.

Larger items like logs and utility poles that have washed up will need to be removed with heavy machinery.

"It's going to be a lot of work," Sherburn said. "We'll take it a day at a time."

High water is impacting the park's Channel Campground. Campers can no longer reserve sites because of high water and flooding.

"And if it comes up the way they are forecasting a good chunk of that campground will be underwater," Sherburn said.

Down the lakeshore in the city of Muskegon the lower section of the Kruse Park boardwalk was recently removed by the city.

"We went down and proactively picked those up and took them out rather than having them become debris," said Muskegon's Department of Public Works Director Leo Evans.

Muskegon has already closed a long section of a bike path because of damage caused by high water on Muskegon Lake.

With tight budgets, the things municipalities and parks loose because of erosion might not be replaced without the state's help.

"We're just loosing things that I don't know how we're going to be able to replace them on our own," Evans said. 

Kruse Park will reopen in the spring. The city will likely keep the lower section of the board walk closed next summer. Without that section of the boardwalk the park on Lake Michigan does not have beach access for visitors to enjoy.  

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