St. Joseph neighbors worried by shrinking shoreline

ST. JOSEPH, Mich – Some residents in St. Joseph are concerned about the shrinking shoreline. 

“The beach itself was probably 100 yards of beach that’s now below water there in about 2013,” St. Joseph resident Tom Thornburg said. 

Great Lake levels have been high including Lake Michigan which came close to breaking the all-time record high which was set in 1986. 

Chronically high lake levels led to beach erosion for coastal areas along Silver beach, Tiscornia beach, and Lions beach. 

Some residents chose to put steel retaining walls or rock barriers to protect their properties. 

“My neighbor just down the way here had to put their own sea wall,” Thornburg said. 

St. Joseph City Engineer Tim Zebell said the city has taken steps to protect areas around the city. 

“There’s a combination of things that have been done it’s predominantly a steel wall south of the water plant but there’s also rock revetment along there too,” Zebell said. 

The city of St. Joseph is looking at both short and long-term solutions along with recommendations from a study they had done with Abonmarche. 

Some residents like Thornburg said there are solutions that could be developed with modern technology that would be beneficial to the whole community. 

“It would be better to have some community wide program that would help stop that wave action before it hits the beach,” Thornburg said.  

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