Every year we're losing little bits of Michigan as erosion causes our coastlines to slip into the Great Lakes.

The University of Michigan has been studying the trend and came to Bridgman in Berrien County to see what, if anything, can be done.

In Bridgman, erosion has become so noticeable that the lake is encroaching on the beach house at the city's Weko Beach park. In fact, Lake Michigan is claiming about a foot of beach every year.

The Ann Arbor school talked about their efforts in Bridgman in their Michigan Impact newsletter. The city's mayor, Hannah Anderson, recalled,

“When I was growing up, there was nothing down there but sand, the lake, dunes and this little, dilapidated old building we affectionately called our beach house,” she said.

By the 1960s, things started to change for Bridgman, a small lakeside town in Michigan’s southwestern-most county: A road was paved to the lake, the beach house was expanded and a parking lot soon followed. In the 1980s, high water had city officials sandbagging the beach house and trying to protect the beach with boulders.

“Over time they realized that putting the rubble in makes things worse,” she said.

Shoreline erosion also has affected an old boat ramp on the beach. The city shells out $8,000 a year to add gravel to set and stabilize it, and that seems like a waste to Juan Ganum, Bridgman’s city manager. City officials are considering getting rid of the ramp.

Erosion isn't just a problem in Berrien County (as it's a huge issue in St Joseph as well) but all along the West Michigan coast. U of M is planning symposiums in Traverse City as well to address erosion issues.

Take a drone flight above Weko Beach in Bridgman.

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