OZAUKEE COUNTY -- When the storms kick up waves on Lake Michigan, a number of homeowners along the shore hold their breath. Rapid bluff erosion has caused serious damage in parts of Racine and Kenosha County. Wednesday, there was a meeting held to hear from homeowners to the north.
At the American Legion, the UW Sea Grant begins the process of taking suggestions from homeowners. While they haven't seen the severe erosion we've had to the south, they're watching closely and want to know what they can do.
"There's a huge difference between Racine and Kenosha, and what's happening up by us but it does lead us to concerned about what's going to be happening to our bluff," said Stephanie Petersen, worried about bluff erosion.
Petersen says she's lost about five feet of her Grafton property. The UW Sea Grant wants suggestions from homeowners like Petersen.
"We're not coming in as the experts. We're coming in hopefully to get lots of ideas about policy alternatives," said Deidre Peroff, UW Sea Grant.
The lake rising is nothing new, that goes in cycles. But researchers say the waves are doing more damage now because this high period comes after nearly 15 years of low lake levels.
"That's a long period of time to be kind of consistently below long-term averages," said David Hart, UW Sea Grant.
Petersen says her suggestion is standard advice from the state for those along the lake.
David Hart says bluff protection is more of a case-by-case thing.
"We're looking at one area that looks to be consistent, these higher bluffs. But even within those bluffs there are different characteristics," said Hart.
Petersen says her damage may be minor compared to what's happening around Mount Pleasant, but she still wants to act now.
"We want to be ahead of the game and not be where they're at, unfortunately," said Petersen.
The UW Sea Grant is not focusing on what's happening to the south, they're looking at the bluffs between Shorewood and Port Washington. The plan is to have a list of suggestions put together by September, then get feedback on that list.