Faced with seemingly unprecedented shoreline erosion issues all around the Great Lakes region, members of Michigan’s Congressional Delegation sat down on Friday with federal officials in a bid to find tactical solutions to the widespread devastation that continued again on a wet and windy weekend.
Congressman Fred Upton joined colleagues Bill Huizenga and Jack Bergman in the roundtable discussion Friday with members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and staff from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA at the Detroit District Office of the Army Corps.
The trio of Congressional Representatives from Districst 1, 2 and 6 released the following statement after that meeting on Friday about rising lake levels and erosion along the Great Lakes shoreline:
“On Friday, we had a productive discussion with the Army Corps and representatives from FEMA about an issue that is concerning to all of us and our constituents – the erosion that is happening along our Great Lakes shoreline. Erosion threatens our beaches, our homes, and our state’s overall well-being. As three members who represent our Great Lakes shoreline, it is an issue that is deeply personal and one that we take incredibly seriously.
“In our meeting, we asked for tactical assistance, meaning that our communities need the USACE and FEMA’s expertise right now on how to protect our shorelines and our properties. We also asked them for solutions to mitigate damage and alleviate some of the burden on constituents.
“Moving forward, we will keep monitoring the status of our shoreline and the threat of erosion. All parties agreed to remain committed to working on a coordinated response with every level of government to ensure our shoreline can withstand, recover from, and adapt to high lake levels and erosion.”
Water levels across the Great Lakes have broken records over the past year. In July, Lake Michigan was just one inch below its record high from 1986, and it was 15 inches above its level from a year ago. Just a day before sitting down with the Congressmen, the Army Corps released forecasts indicating that 2020 won’t be any better.
In the new 6 month forecast, John Allis, Chief of the Great Lakes Hydraulics & Hydrology Office for the Detroit District, says, “It is likely that water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron will set new monthly mean record high levels over the next couple of months,” and warns, “This sets the stage for coastal impacts and damages in 2020 similar to, or worse than, what was experienced last year.”