Nov 08, 2018

Indiana Beach Closed Due to Erosion

Funding remains an obstacle to fix erosion at the popular Lake Michigan beach

Indiana lakeshore beach seeks erosion control funds
Indiana lakeshore beach seeks erosion control funds

The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (IDNL) has closed access to the beach at the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk due to continued erosion, as reported by the Northwest Indiana Times.

“Recent storm waves eroded away a portion of a sand dune and the only designated trail to the beach at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk area,” said a press release from IDNL. “With no safe path available, the National Park Service has temporarily closed access to the beach until a safe way to the beach can be reestablished.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, Lake Michigan is at a near all-time high water level at 580 ft above sea level, just two feet shy of the record high in 1986. The higher lake level coupled with recent storm waves contributed to the beach erosion and narrower beaches along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

The popular park, which opened in 2009, faces a lack of funding for beach renourishment and erosion control projects. While a bill authorized by Indiana State Sen. Karen Tallian and passed earlier this year requires any sand dredged from Lake Michigan to be deposited on the beach, the bill is likely years away from being implemented. In August, Tallian requested funding from the Porter County Council to manage erosion through dredging as a temporary solution. However, the council denied responsibility of the park.

“I have not had anybody offer money for fixing it now. Nobody,” Tallian said. “My personal belief–and it’s not just my opinion–is that the group that should be stepping up to the table is the Port of Indiana.”