Emergency declaration sought for lakeshore erosion

Rising Waters
park township lake michigan erosion

Drone 8 shows a bird’s-eye view of erosion along Lake Michigan in Park Township. (Oct. 23, 2019)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan lawmakers are asking the governor to declare an emergency along the lakeshore due to aggressive erosion that is threatening properties.

State Rep. Bradley Slagh, R-Zeeland, and several other lawmakers whose districts cover the Lake Michigan shoreline wrote the governor a letter Thursday asking for the declaration.

A state emergency declaration can make more state funds and resources available to affected areas. It also opens the door for requesting a federal emergency declaration.

Fall storms have whipped up powerful waves on an unusually high Lake Michigan and erosion has eaten away at bluffs. Homes near Holland have had to be moved back or demolished to keep them from toppling into the water. Some further north near Montague are still in danger of falling in.

“Mother Nature has taken her toll on thousands of Michigan families,” Slagh said in a statement. “We’re calling on the governor to declare an emergency and provide more state resources to address this situation and help all of those affected.”

State and federal officials have already promised to speed up permitting processes to allow homeowners to fight back.

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