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Monthly water levels set record in 4 of 5 Great Lakes

washed away dunes and a deck perched on the edge
Courtesy of Jim Davlin
High water levels mean shoreline erosion will continue along the state's Great Lakes.

A relatively dry February in Michigan still produced record-setting monthly water levels infour out of the five Great Lakes.

That's bad news for residents living along the state's coastlines, where shoreline erosion continues.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tracks lake levels on a weekly basis.

A rise in water levels is common during this time of year from increased rainfall and runoff. Still, data show Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior all set new monthly records not seen in more than 30 years.

That means shoreline erosion is expected to continue along the Great Lakes coastline, and that’s a concern for the state’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

EGLE Director Liesl Clark told Gongwer News Service that issues with high water levels are expected to get worse before they get better, and that the department is mapping out potential futures if the water levels were to increase another six to 12 inches.

“We're very concerned with where our water levels are going. We went from a record low to a record high, in record time,” she said in an interview with Gongwer.

However, Clark said these record-high water levels don’t represent a new normal. She noted the state went through a similar season of high water levels in 1986.

Meanwhile, the Army Corps is urging coastal residents to prepare for water levels that are similar to or higher than 2019 numbers.

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Lauren Talley is Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition producer. She produces and edits studio interviews and feature stories, and helps manage the “Mornings in Michigan” series. Lauren also serves as the lead substitute host for Morning Edition.
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