Lower Herring Lake Benzie County shoreline erosion prevention
We have a cottage with 85 feet of shoreline on Lower Herring Lake in Frankfort, MI off M-22. The lake connects to Lake Michigan through Herring Creek. Over the last year, the lake level has risen so much that our dam no longer keeps the water in the lake constant. We now are at Lake Michigan levels as the water is about three feet over the dam. Lake levels continue to rise and we are advised that they could get even higher this year and next. Our shoreline has eroded about 10 to 15 feet from last year. We contacted two certified shoreline experts for plans to prevent further erosion. However, between April and now, so much further erosion has occurred due to rising lake levels that we feel the situation is unstable and a comprehensive plan is not viable. A Benzie County staff person, Frank Post suggested that native plants were the only option without obtaining a permit. Is this something we can do now on our own and if so, what would you suggest (including specific plant options and where to purchase them either on line or nursery)? I can send pictures if this will help. Thanks. Marilyn Raymond cell 248.763-5343 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello Marilyn - thanks for your question!
I am sorry to hear you are dealing with erosion on your shoreline. You've done the right thing by reaching out to certified shoreline experts. This year's high Great Lakes levels are causing similar issues statewide in water bodies connected to the Lakes.
As a rule, permits are required for any shoreline work occurring at or below the ordinary high water mark. That would include anything from putting into plants to installing a seawall. The best way to know what work would require permits is to contact the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE, formerly "DEQ") directly: https://www.michigan.gov/egle/0,4561,7-135-3313_3681_28734-161112--,00.html
The need for permits is not based on whether plants are native or not.
Lists of plants suitable for shoreline stabilization under different conditions are available at the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership website: http://www.mishorelinepartnership.org/ This site also has a lot of other helpful resources for dealing with erosion.
Please keep in mind that plants take a while to establish, and won't, on their own, stop erosion right away. Depending on the severity, structural materials (natural or artificial) might be necessary to prevent further erosion while plants become established.