RACINE COUNTY -- A bluff erosion survey took place Tuesday, May 31st off the coast of Lake Michigan near Mount Pleasant. Village officials say about a dozen homes are at risk of falling into the lake due to severe erosion.
Officials headed out on Tuesday -- with rain in the forecast. They said one bad storm could have devastating effects.
Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave on May 26th issued a "declaration of emergency" in Racine County due to severe bluff erosion happening along Lake Michigan in Caledonia and Mount Pleasant.
On Tuesday, the Mount Pleasant village president along with the assistant fire chief and engineer headed out on the water with the Racine County sheriff for a survey.
According to Delagrave, because of the increase in water levels on Lake Michigan, and the combination of wave action and unstable bluffs, the erosion of the bluffs has accelerated at an unprecedented rate.
Homeowners say the rapid erosion situation has been threatening them in earnest since January -- as Lake Michigan is at its highest level in the past 90 years. Now, houses that have been there for decades could just disappear.
Those who took part in the two-hour boat tour Tuesday called it eye-opening. They found new areas where erosion is happening in Mount Pleasant, and in Caledonia, they found that areas that were only slightly damaged two weeks ago appeared much more so -- with entire trees falling over the edge.
Some homeowners have employed temporary fixes, but there needs to be something permanent. Delagrave says they'll need federal help with that.
"The Army Corps of Engineers in the early to mid 80s set down rock that was preserved -- so we know it does work. We didn`t really know that before. At least I didn`t," Delagrave said.
Also on the boat on Tuesday were members of the fire department. They went along to analyze the area, should they need to respond to a call there. They advise people to stay away.
Governor Scott Walker says he is aware of the immanent danger to several homeowners and is looking into how that state can help.