Wildly varying Lake Michigan water levels have played havoc with the state’s shoreline and infrastructure. What do we need to know and how can we weigh in?
The Great Lakes region will spend nearly $2 billion over the next five years combating coastal damage exacerbated by climate change, according to a recent survey of local governments. Wisconsin will bear an estimated burden of at least $245 million as a climate “tug of war” — evaporation from warming temperatures and increasingly intense storms — drives extreme shifts in water levels. Low-water years require expensive dredging of waterways so boats can reach their destinations. But high water brings destructive storm surges that swallow beaches, swamp docks, erode lakeside bluffs and shutter businesses. Shoreline erosion — and how to afford infrastructure improvements needed to protect against damage from high water — challenges urban centers and small towns along the Great Lakes.
This event will explore the ways Northeast Wisconsin communities can protect their shorelines from Lake Michigan’s volatile waters in the coming years.