Severe beach erosion wiping away roads, beaches in Berrien County

 Road closed in Stevensville after more than half of it eroded because of waves along the shore.
Road closed in Stevensville after more than half of it eroded because of waves along the shore. (WNDU)
Published: Jan. 13, 2020 at 5:51 PM EST
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Severe beach erosion is hitting Michiana hard. So hard, places like Stevensville and Cherry Beach in Chikaming Township have little to no beach left.

“There is no beach down there right now, and that’s a shock” Chikaming Township resident Susan Phalen said.

In Stevensville, Cody Krieger, owner of Kreeeg Media, has spent his last four days documenting the shore with his drone. What caught him off guard was a road nearly wiped away by the waves.

"A road falling into Lake Michigan is pretty big news, no matter how you look at it. Over the last four days, the difference in my recordings is dramatic. I mean, you lost 6 foot of road. This is about a 40 foot. It’s kind of dangerous,” Krieger said.

Despite the shocking discovery, it’s not the only place with an erosion problem. Silver Beach in St. Joseph has seen its fair share of beach erosion. And at Cherry Beach in Chikaming Township, there is not a beach left.

“The stairs were also ripped out. You can’t tell by looking out there, but there is no beach … at all,” Phalen said.

According to Chikaming Township Park Board Chair Deborah Hall-Kayler, it is not the first time it’s happened.

“It’s not the first time we have stairs lost going into the beach, the rising of the lake front. It is alarming for the whole community, but it’s also – we’ve been here before,” Hall-Kayler said.

Having been here before, Hall-Kayler says the only thing the township can do now is wait.

“The middle of February is going to be the highest level of the lake on record, and we are just going to have to sit and wait and see if the lake starts to go down, then we can start doing some things,” Hall-Kayler said.

Three of seven access points along Cherry Beach are temporarily shut down until the lake levels drop.

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