People Are Destroying Great Lakes Erosion Barriers
Many people may be unknowingly creating a bigger erosion problem in the Great Lakes. Have you done this?
You've no doubt seen the rock piles also known as "cairns" along Lake Michigan. Maybe you have innocently built your own. That action of removing rocks from the shore of Lake Michigan may seem insignificant. It turns out, not so much.
Millions of Michigan residents along with hundreds of thousands of people from out of state visit Michigan water ways every year. The tourism industry pulled nearly $23 billion along Michigan's shores in 2014 according to Mlive. This erosion is devastating for the environment, the economy and local residents. The TikTok below was uploaded 4 days ago by Jess Blauwkamp of Ludington showing more rock stacks along our shore.
Robin Martin has been asking people to stop rock-stacking for years. On High Country News, Martin writes about how these rocks are used as protection for animals and the soil,
Moving rocks increases erosion by exposing the soil underneath, allowing it to wash away and thin soil cover for native plants.
In fact, early last year a Montague, Michigan beach house fell into Lake Michigan due to erosion. You can see the now demolished home in the video below.
We can't stop the rapid erosion of our great lakes shores overnight. However, there is one simple thing we can do to prevent this problem from getting worse. Simply stop moving rocks on the shoreline.
In May of 2020 our news partner WWMT spoke with Guy Meadows, Director of the Marine Engineering Laboratory at the Great Lakes Research Center. Meadows offered up these recommendations.
Living shoreline vegetation, dune restoration, leaving some land undeveloped, creating critical planning districts, beach nourishment, storm-water management, elevating structures, and managed relocation.