91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
The Great Lakes region is blessed with an abundance of water. But water quality, affordability, and aging water infrastructure are vulnerabilities that have been ignored for far too long. In this series, members of the Great Lakes News Collaborative, Michigan Public, Bridge Michigan, Great Lakes Now, The Narwhal, and Circle of Blue, explore what it might take to preserve and protect this precious resource. This independent journalism is supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

New federal money is the start of an effort to make Great Lakes coasts more resilient

Lake Michigan coastline near Muskegon, Michigan.
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
A view of the Lake Michigan coastline near Muskegon, Michigan.

Michigan is getting some federal money to help preserve coastlines in this era of climate change.

The Great Lakes region is getting about $2.8 million for coastal conservation, restoration of wetlands, and making the coastline more resilient to the changes caused by climate disruption.

Given the length of Great Lakes coastlines, that’s not a lot of money.

Michigan’s share is about a third of that.

“Michigan will get $875,000 that it will be able to spend over the next five years to address those impacts of climate change and community resilience,” said Joelle Gore, chief of the Stewardship Division for NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management.

This round of grants is just the beginning. Competitive grants in greater amounts will be released as well.

The money can be used to assess a community's vulnerabilities. It could also be used to buy land to be a coastal buffer instead of a development that could end up being a disaster site during the next round of high lake levels. Finally, the money can be used to preserve or restore wetlands.

“Restoring important ecosystems that help protect and serve as sponges when lake levels rise, when there are extreme weather that might bring flooding,” Gore explained.

With the fluctuating levels of the Great Lakes, the hard barriers such as concrete or steel walls are being discouraged in many cases. Experts say a nature-based solution will work better to adapt to a changing shoreline rather than trying to fight against the inevitable changes that a changing climate will cause.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
Related Content