Meeting Addresses Concerns About Rising Lake Water Levels, Coastal Erosion

Folks living up and down the Wisconsin shoreline are getting concerned about rising lake water. Some are noticing it's getting a little too close to their property and, in some cases, causing damage. The University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute invited shoreline residents to talk about the water rose. The institute is taking part in a study led by the University of Michigan to study the rise, how to potentially stop it, and what people who live on the shoreline can do to protect their property. 

"Four years ago, we had 75 yards of beach from our seawall to where the water's edge was, and now we have nothing," said Mel Foley, talking about his property that is just south of Harrington Beach State Park. 

Foley, and his wife Marbeth, remember years past when the water was higher than it is. What bothers them is how fast it's rising this time. So what's causing it?

"We've had years in the recent past with more ice cover than usual, we've probably had more input over the basin that feeds in to the lakes," said David Hart, a Coastal Planning Specialist with University of Wisconsin. 

Bluff erosion in areas farther south, like in the Village of Mount Pleasant, is another example of what the rising Lake is doing. It's considered an emergency situation there. Not so farther north, but shoreline residents still want to know what to do.

"We've seen a lot of things that have been done in other places that have not worked very well," said Marbeth Foley. 

This study could lead to changes on how close new properties can be built to the shoreline. Other meetings will be held in the coming weeks.

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