Our beautiful Lake Michigan coast unites the region. It is an advantage to our quality of life, an economic asset to leverage, and an environmental treasure to protect. It is also, a moving, changing powerful force of nature.
Changing Lake Michigan water levels have impacted the Indiana shoreline for decades. Records show that lake levels fluctuates greatly over the course of years.
Last November, the water level peaked at a near record high over 582 feet. It is predicted to remain high through June 2020. The cyclical nature of these changes makes it difficult to plan for and prepare for the impacts of erosion along the 45-mile stretch of Indiana shoreline.
This past January, NIRPC Commissioners expressed concerns about the urgent danger of multi-millions of dollars in damage to shoreline infrastructure from high Lake Michigan water levels.
Unfortunately, the long term cycle of NWI shoreline fluctuations and the slow accumulation of damage over time does not lend itself to traditional event based disaster relief programs. NIRPC Chair Michael Griffin selected a small group to draft a letter to the Governor seeking assistance.
At least partly as a result of NWI’s united approach, the Governor issued Executive Order 20-01 to authorize action including gathering data on damages needed for a potential FEMA assistance request and expediting emergency shoreline projects. Indiana Department of Homeland Security has created an on-line Indiana Lakeshore Reporting Tool.
More information about Lake Michigan Erosion and water levels can be found