Why Shore Armoring Inevitably Fails

In this short film, Professor Guy Meadows (Great Lakes Research Center, Michigan Technological University) describes how high-water levels and waves are changing the shorelines of the Great Lakes through a constant process of erosion, movement, and deposition. Shore structures installed to stop erosion such as revetments may block the erosive forces of Lake Michigan’s waves and high waters for a time, but they ultimately succumb and collapse. Research and observation make it clear,  Meadows says, that “every one of these structures causes more erosion in the long term than they prevent in the short term.”

Guy Meadows, Ph.D., MSE

Meadows was filmed on the Lake Michigan shoreline of the Upper Peninsula near Brevort, just south US 2 late last summer (2020). Most of this film is incorporated in a series of videos produced under a project organized and led by Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant, and Michigan Natural Features Inventory with financial support from the Michigan Coastal Management Program, Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Under the multi-agency project, the producer and publisher of Nature Change, Joe VanderMeulen and associate producer Bronwyn Jones worked to create a six-part film series on the impacts of climate, storms and changing water levels on Michigan’s Great Lakes shorelines. The focus of the series is on improving coastal community resilience through informed planning and land use management. To view the complete series of videos and access a wide range of helpful information, please visit the Michigan Coastal Program’s portion of EGLE’s website HERE.


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