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“It’s heartbreaking:” Homeowners along Lake Michigan shore stressed over speed of bluff erosion

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SOMERS -- Mother Nature is causing a different kind of stress for some homeowners in southeast Wisconsin.

With their side door now just a couple of steps from the edge of a cliff, the Lindgrens fear their house won't be home much longer.

"I'm probably gonna start packing things up real soon," said Marge Lindgren. "Well, with the rain that we've had the last two weeks, I've lost another, probably, ten feet."

Marge Lindgren

FOX6 News profiled the Lindgrens last summer. At that time, the Village of Somers family had just seen their big maple tree and backyard picnic table tumble into Lake Michigan.

The natural erosion has sped up the last couple of years because of high lake levels and high-energy waves.

The erosion is clear to see comparing aerial campus photos of nearby Carthage College. School officials show a recently completed project to put new protective limestone in front of about 130 feet of shoreline. The above image is from 2014; the one below is from last summer. (Courtesy: Carthage College)

"The best I could say is plan for $3,500 to $4,000 per linear foot," said Bill Hoare, Carthage's Associate Vice President of Business.

Do the math and that adds up to about $500,000.

"We are monitoring the additional 870 square feet of lakefront property," Hoare added.

Last summer, the Army Corps of Engineers told homeowners federal funds can be used to protect public infrastructure but not private property.

For Lindgren, it's one eye on the ground and the other in the sky.

"It's heartbreaking. I mean, this is my home. I don't want to move," Lindgren said. "More rain coming and I'm a nervous wreck."

FOX6 News reached out to village officials in Somers as well as Mount Pleasant where erosion was a major problem last summer. We have yet to hear back.

Lindgren said she was hoping Carthage would buy her property, but college officials say they have no immediate plans for expansion.