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erosion

washed away dunes and a deck perched on the edge
Courtesy of Jim Davlin

A relatively dry February in Michigan still produced record-setting monthly water levels in four out of the five Great Lakes.

That's bad news for residents living along the state's coastlines, where shoreline erosion continues.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tracks lake levels on a weekly basis.

Jed Jaworski

Large waves and Lake Michigan’s record high water level are breaking down the barrier that protects the historic Point Betsie Lighthouse in Frankfort.

Key parts of the structure are fractured and falling apart. Supporters of the lighthouse are trying to get repairs done. 

But Interlochen Public Radio's Taylor Wizner reports that a lengthy process may stand in the way.

a screen that says mega millions and 173
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, what the worsening erosion of Great Lakes shorelines looks like from a bird’s eye view. Plus, an expected flood of absentee ballots this November has some of Michigan's clerks nervous about timely reporting. We talk to a state senator who says accuracy is more important than speed when it comes to counting votes. 

A white house sinks down a sand dune into Lake Michigan
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Record high water levels in the Great Lakes are wreaking havoc on Michigan’s shorelines. Dramatic erosion along the shore has put both private homes and public infrastructure at risk. Randy Claypool, aerial videographer and owner of Truly Michigan Aerial, captured footage that shows just how severe erosion is along Lake Michigan.

Michigan Department of Transportation

Ongoing erosion is threatening the main road connecting southeast Michigan to the Thumb.

a sunrise looking out over lake superior framed by trees
Bugsy Sailor

For many of us, it is more pleasurable to look at pictures of beautiful sunrises than to get up and actually see beautiful sunrises.

washed away dunes and a deck perched on the edge
Courtesy of Jim Davlin

State officials are working to quickly approve permits for work along the Great Lakes to try to save properties threatened by erosion. The state received nearly 500 permit requests from October through December. That's close to half what the state received for the entire year before that.

It used to take around 90 days to get a permit for a project on the shoreline. Now the state Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) says it takes about a week.

The home fell into Lake Michigan on New Year's Eve.
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A western Michigan lakefront home has fallen down a sandy bluff in an area plagued by erosion.

washed away dunes and a deck perched on the edge
Courtesy of Jim Davlin

Today on Stateside, Great Lakes water levels are at record or near-record highs, leading to dramatic shoreline erosion and threatening lakeshore properties. Plus, the Detroit origins of the spiral cut ham, a holiday dinner staple. 

South Manitou Island Lighthouse
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has experienced a lot of damage the past few years, from battering storms to rising water levels.

MLive reports that engineers have found the shoreline of the South Manitou Island Lighthouse has degraded significantly. The erosion worsened during the 2015-2016 winter. Park staff have outlined a $1 million plan to fix it.

A $1.8 million grant is going to help protect the Huron River satershed.

The money is coming through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, as part of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Meghan Prindle is the Community and Landowner Outreach Coordinator for the Legacy Land Conservancy. She says the grant will help with several problems, including fertilizer runoff and erosion.

“This is largely going to take the form of reaching out to landowners and trying to help them tap into federal program funding,” says Prindle.

U.S. Forest Service

The Pine River is one of the fastest flowing rivers in Lower Michigan and one of the most popular. But its popularity created a problem the U.S. Forest Service wants to fix.

The project would mean the end of a sandy bank, about 160 feet high, that attracts crowds of paddlers.

The issue pits people’s enjoyment of the river against the river’s health and even public safety.

The Department of Natural Resources

HANCOCK, Mich. (AP) - State officials have closed 32 waterfront campsites at F.J. McLain State Park in the Upper Peninsula because of unsafe conditions and erosion along the Lake Superior shoreline.

  The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says 18 sites at the park near Hancock will remain closed permanently, while 14 will be evaluated in the spring for safety and accessibility.