SPRING LAKE, Mich. (WOOD) — The Congletons bought their dream home on North Shore Drive in Spring Lake in the early 1990s.
It’s a place they usually call “a little piece of paradise.”
“Normally we do, but not right now,” said Sammie Congleton.
Mother Nature came along Wednesday, taking apart a portion of their deck overlooking Lake Michigan and further eroding the dunes that once extended 300 feet to the water.
“It was just awful. The wind and the rains… it seemed like it just wasn’t going to ever quit,” said Congleton.
The National Weather Service says some areas lost 10 to 20 feet of dunes in just 12 hours because of one-foot surge waves pushing already near-record high lake levels.
There doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. The NWS expects the high water to continue until at least the beginning of next year.
The Congletons have a plan to save the rest of the dunes and their home — their insurance won’t cover damage caused by the lake. The solution involves large rocks laid over marine material, holding the remaining dunes in place and the lake at bay.
“It has to be approved of course by the Corp of Engineers and DEQ or EGLE,” said Congleton, referring to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lake and Energy.
That’s the other battle the Congletons and other owners of eroding lakeshore property face: meeting state requirements could take four to six months.
Contractors have been working with state officials to put more immediate permits in place for temporary fixes, but so far they’ve had no luck.
It’s leaving the Congletons and other lakeshore property owners in a real bind.
“The urgency is really now. We need it now,” said Congleton. “We’ve worked hard to have this and we just hope we can save it.”