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).

High Water Level Information for the Great Lakes

Living on the Coast:  Protecting Investments in Shore Property on the Great Lakes

Great Lakes Shorelines Information for Permit Applicants

Great Lakes Shoreline Protection Contractors List 

Coming soon: Frequently Asked Questions about Shore Protection during Great Lake High Waters

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.  

Applying for a Permit (Joint Permit Application)

Minor Project Categories for shoreline protection projects that avoid and minimize adverse impacts are available to applicants (for example, MP Category 41).  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.

Minor Project Categories

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.

Great Lakes Shorelands and High Risk Areas

Great Lakes Submerged Lands

Critical Dune Areas

Coastal Zone Management

This page can be accessed as www.mi.gov/highwater.