LOW-COST SHORE PROTECTION ON THE GREAT LAKES: A DEMONSTRATION/RESEARCH PROGRAM

John M. Armstrong

Abstract


Shore erosion is currently causing millions of dollars of damage to shoreline property along the Great Lakes (1,2). Erosion is caused by the energy of waves and currents which are produced by large wind storms. The erosion process on the Great Lakes is most severe when lake levels are near the top of their 6-foot (1.8 meter) range'for several years as is currently being experienced. The severe erosion process continues even after lake levels fall, as the bluffs have become unstable and waves from intense storms can still attack them. In order to alleviate the erosion damages to beaches and bluffs, shoreline owners must rely on shore protection methods. Effective methods of shore protection are designed to slow or stop the erosion process by dissipating wave energy and/or preventing bluff attack. However, the most effective methods are very expensive, costing over $200 per foot ($656 per meter) of shoreline. (Costs are calculated, for the purposes of this study, as the length of shoreline which is expected to be protected by the shore protection methods. For sites utilizing revetments, artificial nourishment, and seawalls, the length is the stretch of shoreline actually covered by the method. For locations utilizing groin systems and breakwaters, the system was designed to protect the entire length of the sites; the costs have been calculated on that basis. Whether these systems actually protect that length of shoreline is to be determined by this study.) Shoreline homeowners are usually not able to meet such expenses, and often resort to less efficient and costly alternatives. Private shoreline owners need accurate, reliable information about effective low-cost shore protective methods in order to reduce or alleviate the severe erosion damages to their shoreline.

Keywords


shore protection; low cost; Great Lakes; demonstration/research program

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