Michigan officials speed up permit process to help threatened shoreline homes


This home in Port Sheldon Township was moved back from the lakeshore due to erosion. (Oct. 29, 2019)

Officials are taking additional steps to help Michigan shoreline property owners affected by erosion from high water levels.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as well as the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy today announced they will speed up permits for shoreline protection.

With a process that normally takes 60-90 days, permits can be issued in a matter of days in cases where homes or infrastructure are at risk.

“We cannot control lake levels, but we can offer tools to help Michiganders protect their property while safeguarding our freshwater dunes and other shoreline resources,” said Liesl Clark, EGLE director.

The Great Lakes are experiencing the highest water levels since 1986, according to EGLE.

EGLE issued 730 shoreline protection permits this past fiscal year, compared to 636 the previous year.

Property owners with erosion issue questions can call EGLE’s Environmental Assistance Center at (800) 662 – 9278.

The shoreline permit process balances protecting property with freshwater dunes and shorelines.

Poorly designed shoreline protection structures can increase damage to neighboring properties and disrupt natural processes.

In most cases, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also needs to approve permits for placing materials along the waterline and in the water.

“Michigan’s Great Lakes are a vital resource but come with a set of complex challenges, like the significant erosion along the Lake Michigan shoreline caused by record-high water levels,” Gov. Whitmer said.

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