Northwest Indiana communities challenged by high lake levels

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (WNDU) - Both U.S. senators from Michigan are urging the federal government to send funds to help Michigan communities impacted by beach erosion, including some in Michiana.

The Lake Michigan shorelines of northwest Indiana are dealing with erosion, just like their neighbors to the north. However, they haven't reached the point yet where they're asking for federal aid.

Many residents near Michigan City are ready for the high waters, protecting their properties with sea walls.

But high waves have had a negative impact on the harbor in the past.

“The wave action will push a lot of sand into our harbor, and at that time our harbor got as shallow as 2 feet, and that would really affect our summer boat traffic,” Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry said.

Parry says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers helped dredge the harbor a couple years ago, but on Michigan City's dime.

Michigan’s U.S. Senators asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to "allocate funding to address coastal erosion and dredging needs, provide technical assistance with floods and storms, and fund a study to coordinate strategy on protecting the Great Lakes."

A couple miles west, the Indiana Dunes face erosion problems of their own, forcing the park to shut down some of their lakefront picnic areas.

“What we're getting is storm waves that are moving further inland, eroding away dunes. The lake is at a higher level, covering up what a lot of people think should be the normal amount of beach,” Indiana Dunes supervisory park ranger Bruce Rowe said.

The community of Beverly Shores is investing in construction and sand traps to fight back against Mother Nature.

While leaders in Indiana have yet to ask for federal aid to solve the beach erosion problem, they're still facing challenges that come with the high water.