Natural Dynamics of the Shoreline

The shorelines along the Great Lakes are subject to naturally occurring changes that happen seasonally and over long periods of time.  The water elevation in each lake fluctuates throughout the seasons based on runoff from storms and snow melt, among other factors.  The water elevation can also fluctuate over periods of years or decades in response to long-term climate patterns. The State of Michigan has defined an Ordinary High Water Mark for each of the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair for the purpose of determining where people can own or develop private property.

High winds on the Great Lakes can cause large waves and flooding, and beach widths can often become altered after one storm.  But even in good weather, Great Lakes beaches are susceptible to erosion.  Any shoreline treatment should consider the positive and negative effects it could have on the natural shoreline dynamics.

Pros and Cons of Shoreline treatments – use powerpoint slides 55, 56, and 57.