GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stated Lake Michigan’s water level is seven inches lower than this time last year.

Great Lakes Watershed Hydrology Chief Keith Kompoltowicz said the Great Lakes system is still above average. With a decrease in precipitation this past year, visitors can expect more sandy beach space.

Water levels are driven by the amount of water that comes into the lakes via precipitation and runoff. Additionally, the amount of evaporation also impacts levels. Historically, the summer months bring the highest levels for the year.

The decrease in water levels is a welcome change for those who own property along the water.

“Folks who own property along the shoreline are likely quite happy to see lake levels lower. As the power of those waves is now breaking a bit further down the shoreline, as opposed to right up against their property,” Kompoltowicz said.

In 2020, water levels were at a record high, with some areas experiencing more than two feet of additional water compared to this year. During that time, docks, lakeside businesses and homes took extra measures to protect their walkways and structures.

Officials warn that sailor’s typical anchorages may be too shallow this year. With less water under their keel, some may find themselves running aground.

The U.S. Coast Guard also warns boaters not to be tempted to use E15 gas. The gas is federally prohibited for recreational vessel use and can cause marine engine damage.