Great Lakes High Water Levels
The Great Lakes are experiencing the highest water levels since 1986, and storms and wave action are causing erosion and flooding of the shoreline. Water levels on the Great Lakes are cyclical with periods of low and high water, with each period lasting for several years depending on the amount of precipitation, runoff, and evaporation that occurs. Great Lakes shorelines include bluffs, floodplains, coastal wetlands, sand dunes, and development, and the type of shoreline determines how high water levels will impact property. Due to the resulting erosion and threat to property that high water levels can cause, property owners are requesting information on permitting and technical resources that are available from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).
Contact the Environmental Assistance Center (EAC) at 800-662-9278 or EGLE-Assist@Michigan.gov, if you have questions or need assistance. The EAC is staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tell the operator that you are calling about shoreline erosion and you will be transferred to a field staff person. After hours, please leave a message and someone will get back to you the next business day.
Shoreline Protection Permits
Permits are required from both EGLE and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) prior to placement of any shore protection using the EGLE/USACE joint permit application information below.
Minor Project Categories for shoreline protection projects that avoid and minimize adverse impacts are available to applicants (for example, MP Category 41 and 49). Projects that meet these MP categories can be expedited by EGLE, do not require a public notice, and have reduced application fees for the applicant. EGLE has also revised its procedure for activities not constituting a use in a Critical Dune Area.
EGLE Great Lakes Programs
Additional shoreline protection, permit application resources, and coastal planning information for Great Lakes shorelines can be found on EGLE’s Great Lakes websites listed below.
Resources for NPDES Permit holders, and Others
Bulletin to NPDES Permittees regarding Vulnerability Analyses 1/16/2020
High water elevations can affect or have affected discharges from municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTP)/collection systems, industrial discharges, sewer lines and storm water best management practices (BMP), among others. To prepare for the predicted increasing water levels in 2020, EGLE is asking all permittees to complete a vulnerability analysis as applicable, to minimize potential impacts (link to general guidance document).
Engaging EGLE on Great Lakes Shoreline Erosion (recorded 11/12/2019, 69 min)
Due to higher water levels in the Great Lakes, Michigan’s shoreline communities and residents are experiencing an increase in shoreline erosion. This webinar is an opportunity for local officials to learn more about EGLE’s response to Great Lakes shoreline erosion, the basic rules and processes for obtaining permits for shoreline protection projects, efforts EGLE is taking to expedite permits, and how you and your constituents can communicate and partner most effectively with us. The webinar includes a short presentation followed by time for questions from attendees.
This page can be accessed as Michigan.gov/HighWater.