Bluff and Shore Erosion Hotspots Identified for Lake Michigan Shoreline

The Takeaway: Planners will use this information, funded through the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, to lessen future erosion risks.

In recent years, bluff erosion along the Lake Michigan shoreline has become a major concern, and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, which chairs the Wisconsin Coastal Natural Hazards Work Group, has funded several projects on this issue.

One project investigated and mapped erosion “hotspots” from the Illinois state line through Port Washington in Ozaukee County. The results indicate that wave erosion is a significant cause of coastal bluff instability and bluff top recession. Bluff height, offshore bathymetry, groundwater seeps, and shoreline orientation also can play a role, and shore protection proved to be an important variable in determining slope stability. This information is helpful for future planning efforts. Results are available as GIS layers at (2016)

Partners: Association of State Floodplain Managers, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, University of Wisconsin─Madison