High water level threat will remain in 2020

Rising Waters

SPRING LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — High water levels expected in spring are concerning to lakeshore communities that have been underwater for much of the year.

In the Spring Lake area, several businesses, roadways and trails are still flooded even as bodies of water started to freeze over.

“These are just temporary handmade seawalls out of plywood and sandbags,” homeowner Martha Plantenga told News 8 Tuesday as she pointed to the quick fixes on her neighbor’s property along Spring Lake. “When the flooding was at the worst, it was engulfing this area.”

lloyd's bayou sandbags
Sandbags protect property near the Jackson Street Dock in Spring Lake Township. (Nov. 19, 2019)

Plantenga said she has lived near the Jackson Street Dock for several years and has never seen the lake levels as high as they were this year.

“We’re going to have to get a lot more serious measures if the lake is going even higher,” she added.

Plantenga said that though her home is a decent distance from the water, she’s worried it’s only a matter of time before she has to relocate.

“It’s been a very real concern. We just, we pray a lot that we’ll be able to stay here. With the economy, we’re pretty much priced out of buying a home anywhere else,” Plantenga said.

The problem stretches across the township. At Lloyd’s Bayou, several neighbors report water levels encroaching into their yards.

lloyd's bayou flooding
Flooding along Lloyd’s Bayou. (Nov. 19, 2019)

Spring Lake Township Supervisor John Nash said that because so much of the damage is on private property, there’s not much officials can do.

“There’s a lot of anxiety because we’re all so helpless,” Nash said.

One of the township’s biggest concerns is how the influx of water will affect the sewer system. Leaders say until water levels go down, they won’t be able to properly assess the severity of the damage. 

“How do you respond until the problem has stopped?” Nash asked. “There’s no real solution on what to do. When you have a concern that you can’t deal with, it’s pretty tough.”

The township plans to mull over its options while homeowners brace for the worst.

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