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Lake Superior shore erosion threatening homes

Nov 22, 2017 06:40AM ● Published by Editor

By David Jackson of WLUC-TV - Updated: Tue 8:14 PM, Nov 21, 2017

HARVEY, Mich. (WLUC) - The impact from that massive storm on October 24th is still being felt.

People living along the shores of Lake Superior are now trying to figure out how to protect their homes, after the lake ate away the beach, right up to their homes.

The Bertram's built their home three years ago with the latest materials and construction techniques.

They say it's designed to withstand almost anything the U.P. can deliver.

"However, as I can see, Lake Superior can take a boulder the size of a little Volkswagon Bug and pick it up and move it," weather spotter and homeowner Gene Bertram said.

When the family surveyed the lot for construction, Bertram sais the water was another 40 feet out.

"Within the last two years we've had two major storms that i've seen that I've noticed, it has cut away, so it's dragging the sand away, if all that were back again like 30 years ago it would be a nice slope right to the water," Gene Bertram said.

The storm, with wind measured at 70 plus miles per hour by Bertram, ate away at the land, creating a cliff just feet away from many resident's foundations.

"It was one of the biggest storms I've ever encountered, the wind was definitely roaring, literally, the waves were at least 30 feet," Susan Bertram said. "They were so high they were coming up on top of our dunes," 

"A lot of our neighbors are in trouble, a lady down the beach is only 6 feet from that edge of that cliff," Gene Bertram said.

Lake Superior's water level rises and lowers over the years and according to Bertram, this year the lake is at one of its highest levels.

One of the solutions to protect their homes, outside of planting grass and trees to protect the sand itself, is to place boulders to reinforce the cliff face.

"We are not going to be able to do that and most of the neighbors here aren't going to be able to do that so we're very concerned, the corps of engineers will give us, they'll wave the permits so we can get it started right away, get it built before before the winter comes," Gene Bertram said.

"It's incredible to watch what the lake does but it could be dangerous and beautiful at the same time," Susan Bertram said. "While we love watching it we're not really excited about the erosion so we hope to work with that."

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