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EGLE requests removal of temporary sandbags installed along Great Lakes shorelines

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is requesting that shoreline property owners remove sandbags that were placed along shorelines when high Great Lakes water levels threatened properties in 2020.

The sandbags were authorized as temporary actions to help property owners along the Great Lakes to prevent erosion impacts to their property and structures. The sandbags must be removed before they deteriorate and leave behind plasticized materials in the water and along the shore.

Many sandbags were installed under a Minor Project (MP) permit under Part 325, Great Lakes Submerged Lands, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended (NREPA) or using the exemption created under Part 353, Sand Dunes Protection and Management, of the NREPA.

Both the MP permits and the Part 353 exemption required removal of the Sandbags when the water level fell below the ordinary high-water mark (OHWM). Lakes Michigan, Huron, St. Clair, and Erie have had sustained water levels below their respective OHWMs for a significant period.  Lake Superior water levels have continued to be higher, and sandbags already installed on the shoreline of Lake Superior can remain in place at this time.

Those who installed sandbags under an EGLE permit, using the Part 353 exemption, or without a permit, will be contacted regarding removal of sandbags in the next several weeks. EGLE encourages property owners to begin removing sandbags as soon as possible. More information can be found Great Lakes Water Levels ( or by contacting the EGLE district office that covers your county.