The new study will explore rising lake levels impact on Illinois Beach State Park
The Illinois State Geological Survey launched a study investigating the impacts of erosion on coastal wetlands. The study will examine Illinois Beach State Park, which has eroded as much as 21 ft over the past six months.
The study’s authors theorize that the rising level of Lake Michigan will drown wetlands and potentially release carbon reserves stored in the wetlands. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Michigan is nearly 1.5 ft above its long-term average, and more than 4 ft higher than the record low in 2013.
Ethan Theuerkauf, a coastal geologist at the Illinois State Geological Survey, said to the Chicago Tribune regarding carbon release, “Given the possibility of export back into the atmosphere, protecting wetlands from eroding and liberating the stored carbon is important.”