Homeowners ‘panic’ as erosion destroys properties

Southwest Michigan

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Some homeowners whose houses are threatened by erosion from high water levels and wind are becoming increasingly concerned as the water continues to swallow chunks of their land.

Water levels on Lake Michigan are at the highest they’ve been in years. That, coupled with the wind storms over the past two weeks have increased the pace of erosion.

Tuesday night, Ed Karous, owner of Great Lakes Seawalls, was looking at homes along Lakeshore Drive assessing damage caused by the erosion and inspecting the status of seawalls his company installed in the past.

He says homeowners dealing with worsening damage are calling him in desperation.

“They’re starting to panic,” Karous said. “I’ve had people calling me that want work done. I just can’t do it.

“People are losing their houses. They’re getting close to losing their houses. I’ve been doing this a long time and like I say it’s a bad situation,” he added.

Karous started in the seawall business in the 1980s. He says he hasn’t seen conditions like this since 1986.

“It’s just devastating,” he said.

Among the properties he was evaluating was a home that was just feet away from falling into the lake. 

Tuesday night high winds kept waves crashing over seawalls well into the night. The waves serve as a reminder of what happens when man-made structures are challenged by nature’s fury.

“You’ve got to be really cautious,” Karous said. “And mother nature usually wins a lot of times.”

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