The Michigan Coastal Management Program (MCMP) is helping coastal communities become more resilient to the dynamic conditions that come with living, working, and playing on the shores of the Great Lakes.
One way that's being done is the launch of a new website - Michigan's Resilient Coast: Living on the nation's longest freshwater coastline. The website's intent is to aid in local planning decisions, through which a coastal community can prepare itself to absorb and adapt to changes in Great Lakes water levels, coastal storms and floods; manage social and environmental changes; and build a better and more reliable local economy.
Users will find easy access to the most up-to-date information on the lake levels, state and federal data tools, and guidance on resilient planning and zoning. Still to come on the site is the MCMP Adaptations Strategies Toolkit.
A resilient community provides space for beach and dunes to migrate naturally, so they can continue to serve the community with benefits like curbing erosion and absorbing floodwaters.
Community resilience is defined as the sustained ability of a community to understand and use available resources to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations.
"EGLE's mission is to protect natural resources," said Jerrod Sanders, assistant director in EGLE's Water Resources Division. "So, we need to make sure that critical shoreline resources are not adversely impacted by protective measures."
While local efforts are essential for a healthy coast, state regulatory authorities help to reduce impacts to the shoreline and state designated sensitive areas such as high-risk erosion areas, wetlands, critical dunes and environmental areas. If Michiganders want to continue to have the beautiful beaches and dunes that make our coastline special, everyone at all levels needs to think about alternative ways to plan and protect coastal development. That can range from moving homes, roads or other infrastructure from the water's edge to considering and adopting more effective long-term strategies and master planning.
For more information, please visit the Michigan's Resilient Coast webpage or you can contact the Michigan Coastal Management Program Manager Ronda Wuycheck at WuycheckR@Michigan.gov or 517-420-5921.
Photo caption: Outline of the state of Michigan from space