Saving Beachfront Houses from Lake Michigan Water Levels & Erosion

How do I know when my home is in danger of erosion?

Risk assessments for waterfront homes are conducted on a case by case basis. Considerations include how much land you are willing to lose, how close to the water the home is. Note that there are some areas of the coastline where rising water levels have had less of an impact than other locations.

When is it too late to do something?

Once the bluff is within 15-20 feet of the foundation, it becomes significantly more difficult to save the home. The taller the bluffs are, the more urgent the need for a professional revetment can be. The revetment needs to be properly constructed at a gradual angle. If the angle is too steep, the stone can dislodge and tumble down.  This is a very dangerous situation for beachgoers, especially for people lounging or children playing near the rocks.

Other factors to consider are your individual risk tolerance, your budget, etc. Also, qualified contractors are not always available; you will have to schedule your work with them and lead times may not allow for work to begin immediately, even if the situation is approaching critical thresholds of risk (e.g. bluff erosion within 15-20 feet of the foundation).

Some homeowners opt to move their homes back on their land, farther from the water. Some homes have been moved up to three times. With this plan, however, you will eventually run out of room to move, and lost land cannot be easily backfilled or replaced. This can significantly affect the value of your home. We strongly advise protecting the long term value of the home, whether you plan on selling it or passing it down to children or grandchildren. It’s never too late to call – but know that erosion issues only normally continue to get more difficult and more expensive to control if action is not taken.

What are my options if I’m in danger of erosion?

Some homeowners attempt solutions such as planting beach grass, filing and placing hundreds of sandbags along the beach, or wooden seawalls, but these are not long term solutions.

What is the first step in saving a lakefront property?

Call us to begin the process of installing a proper rock revetment. Contracting firms like White Lake Dock & Dredge have the knowledge and experience to consult and guide you through this process. Some homeowners opt to contact a design engineering company first, but reaching out to a design engineering firm will increase your cost and often delay your project. Commonly these designs are not properly suited for the site or are over-engineered, causing unnecessary expenses. They often include steel seawalls, covered by a rock revetment. The steel is very expensive and unnecessary. A correctly built rock revetment is a better solution and all that is needed. We have in-house consultants and engineers which allows us to provide an efficient process.

Before hiring a company or contractor for your revetment work, request before and after photographs of their projects. Talk to references who have worked with the contractor. Choose a contractor with proven, “hands-on” experience working in the field.

Should I involve my neighbors in the erosion control project?

Yes. Share our information about erosion protection with them. The larger a rock revetment project is, the more effective it can potentially be. Neighbors may benefit from adjacent revetments, due to slower “rip currents” and less “wave reflection”.

How do I get an erosion protection quote?

Please contact us through our website form, give us a call, or send us an email. We can answer any questions you may have and explain the simple process further.

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