Local News

Barge Helps Hold Back Lake Michigan

(New Buffalo, MI) - A barge docked in New Buffalo Harbor is hauling large rocks to several homes threatened by shoreline erosion from the record high Lake Michigan.

    Ted Gryzwacz, the President of the New Buffalo Shoreline Alliance, said Donkersloot & Sons was contracted by the property owners to shore up their revetments weakened by a late November storm.

    He said the barge has been making trips out there to rebuild the protective barriers for months and expects the work to continue into the summer. “We never had enough ice on the lake to slow the process down.  He’s been working all winter,” he said.

    Gryzwacz said he and two of his neighbors at Sunset Shores hired Oselka Construction to rebuild their revetments. Trucks venturing down a road cut to the shoreline have been carrying and depositing rocks used to shore up those eroded bluffs.

    That work has also been occurring since high waves generated by the late November storm brought the water’s edge closer to those residences. Gryzwacz said he has lost 10 to 15 feet of his yard to the erosion while a neighbor had as much as 20 to 25 feet of his yard fall over the edge of the dune brought down by the pounding waves.

    He said about 80-percent of the work he and his neighbors have ordered is finished and should be done before the end of the month.

    Gryzwacz said the additional rocks worked to stop further erosion last week when strong northerly winds sent waves barreling into the shoreline. “It held up very well.  Very well.  We had no more damage,” he said.

    Gryzwacz said the restored barriers should keep the lake from advancing closer to their homes at least for now but their long term effectiveness could depend on whether the lake continues to rise.

    The New Buffalo Shoreline Alliance continues to pursue federal funding on a solution it believes will work to replenish beaches to help reduce erosion from the high water.
    More sand would diminish the size of the waves before they hit the shoreline.
    “We got to get sand and somehow we got to get the water down,” Gryzwacz said.


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