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EGLE partners with Army Corps of Engineers for educational beach walks

Footprints in the sand on a beach with two people walking in the distance.A walk on the beach can clear your head, but did you know some beach walks can fill your mind with new knowledge and boost your Great Lakes literacy?

This summer, the Michigan Coastal Management Program (MCMP) in the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to host eight community Beach Walks along the shores of each of the Great Lakes that border Michigan: Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior. The walks are open to anyone, and dates and locations are listed at the end of this article.

Dr. Jim Selegean, a hydraulic engineer with the Corps’ Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office in Detroit, will lead the walks. Selegean has studied coastal issues and our shrinking beaches for more than 30 years and leads the district’s coastal engineering and field measurements unit.

The program’s goal is to increase coastal communities’ resilience – the ability to understand and use available resources to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations. Community members will learn about Great Lakes water levels, coastal hazards, Great Lakes storm dynamics, impacts from coastal erosion and flooding, and more.

“I can’t think of a better classroom than the actual sands of our lakeshores where these processes play out,” said MCMP Program Manager Ronda Wuycheck.

The Beach Walks also will provide an opportunity to learn about the MCMP’s Pathway to Resilience and information on grant funding.

Michigan’s coastal communities are on the front lines of climate change, facing a perfect storm from seasonally fluctuating Great Lakes water levels. Impacts such as the record level low (2013) and record high (2020) water levels, more intense and frequent storm events, and unseasonal temperatures. With over 3,288 miles of coastline in Michigan, it is important for local officials and coastal property owners to make wise decisions for responding to and recovering from the negative impacts of coastal hazards.

Walks will begin near parking areas before moving to the beach. No registration is required, and there is no maximum number of participants. Here are dates and locations:

  • June 21: Luna Pier – 7 p.m. at Luna Pier Lighthouse, 10754 Lakeside Drive.
  • June 27: Port Austin  – 7 Bird Creek Park, 8746-8774 Lake St.
  • June 28: Alpena  – 7 p.m. at Starlite Beach Park (parking lot) S. State St.
  • July 27: Houghton
  • July 28: Escanaba
  • Aug. 16: South Haven
  • Aug. 17: Ludington

EGLE and the Corps will send announcements of times and specific locations to communities two to three weeks before each event. Walks will be canceled in case of thunderstorms, with rescheduling considered case by case. Contact EGLE Coastal Management Program Manager Ronda Wuycheck at 517-420-5921 or with any questions.