Bluff erosion survey: Officials call damage along Lake Michigan near Mount Pleasant eye-opening

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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.

PHOTO GALLERY

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.

Bluff erosion survey in Racine County

Bluff erosion survey in Racine County

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.

Bluff erosion survey in Racine County

Bluff erosion survey in Racine County

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.

Bluff erosion survey in Racine County

Bluff erosion survey in Racine County

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.

Bluff erosion survey in Racine County

Bluff erosion survey in Racine County

6 comments

  • yo

    Hey honey let’s buy that million dollar home next to lake Michigan! I really like it. I know the taxes are ridiculous but I need something where I can entertain my friends properly while watching reruns of sex and the city. LOL

    • guest73

      That was my question as well. Anyone building on a lake bluff runs this risk. If West Allis (for example) would suddenly start dropping off into Lake Michigan THAT would be serious lake erosion. I do feel bad for those folks losing their land. But I’m not going to get worked up about it.

  • A YOOPER

    Nature will win. One can only imagine how far the shoreline has eroded in since the glaciers receded and left the lakes somewhat as we know them.

    • Charles Buck

      The accompanying photos show in every instance the homeowner, not the lake, caused the erosion by cutting the trees from the top of the bluff to gain a vanity lake view. The loss of interlocking root structure between the trees on the bluff incline with the trees on the bluff top destabilized the incline surface allowing it to slide into the lake. Go ahead and approve permits for riprap, but the homeowners should full pay for the work due to their poor stewardship of the lakeshore.

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