erosion

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Lake Michigan is experiencing high water levels. That phenomenon has turned the lives of some people living along its western shore upside down. Huge chunks are eroding, and dozens of homeowners are watching their property slip away at alarming rates.

Randy Vassh is working along a stretch of lakefront homes in the Village of Caledonia, maneuvering his excavator in tandem with his co-worker. The huge machines operate in three feet of water and stretch mechanical arms 30 feet out into Lake Michigan. They scoop up huge rocks and place them back along shore to slow erosion.

Photo courtesy of The Racine Journal Times

A state of emergency exists in Racine County for about a dozen homes along the lakefront. The eroding lake bluff is threatening to pull down the houses. 

Emergency officials will meet with residents Tuesday evening to talk about possible solutions.

Roger Tietz is in the business of preventing lake bluff erosion. He works for Edward E. Gillen Marine, a Mequon company that installs shore protection. Tietz says this year a lot of areas without protection are vulnerable.