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St. Joseph Commissioners looking to study shoreline softening program

Posted on June 3, 2024

St. Joseph City Commissioners want to study the possibility of a shoreline softening program along the Lake Michigan coast.

At a meeting this week, City Manager John Hodgson told them a recent allocation of $200,000 from the state will allow the city to do a coastal management study, and the plan is to look at ways the shore could be regularly replenished with sand pulled from the lake.

“What they’d be looking to do is try to do research and develop a plan on how to best soften the shoreline and try to work with the state to figure out how permits would be processed, what sort of information you would need to allow sand reclamation, whether there are any more interesting things like placing some sort of offshore structures to try to track the sand, keep it here rather than have to pump it all the time,” Hodgson said.

As part of dredging operations, sand pulled up from the bottom of Lake Michigan will often be moved to the beaches. However, Hodgson said current state policies have encouraged the installation of hardened structures along the shore, but have not provided similar avenues for sand extraction.

Commissioners were asked to approve a resolution supporting the Great Lakes Coalition seeking government support for shoreline softening. Hodgson said the study will look further north to determine what kind of sand is available to be moved to the shore farther south.

The Great Lakes Coalition is advocating for a strategy of beach nourishment as a natural way to protect the shoreline while water levels fluctuate.

St. Joe City Commissioners approved a resolution Wednesday accepting a proposal from Edgewater Resources to develop a shoreline softening plan.


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