Lake Michigan

A House bill seeks to challenge an Indiana Supreme Court decision that secured the public’s right to use Lake Michigan beaches that are in front of private property. 

Tyler Lake/WTIU

Since ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor facility spilled cyanide and ammonia into a Lake Michigan waterway in August, the state has required the plant to send daily test results to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Now the agency says the company has been distorting those results. 

https://www.facebook.com/IndianaDunesNPS/photos/a.388807581184247/2871764579555189/?type=3&theater

BEVERLY SHORES, Ind. (AP) — The National Park Service and a northwestern Indiana town will install sand traps along the Lake Michigan shoreline to combat beach erosion at the Indiana Dunes National Park.

The federal agency was scheduled to begin working Friday with the town of Beverly Shores to fill 300 linear feet of sand traps at the national park.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

 

Water levels in Lake Michigan are at near-record highs after hitting record lows nearly seven years ago. This rapid swing, coupled with increasing storm activity is eating away at the shoreline. 

On a sunny and cold Saturday in December volunteers flocked to Weko Beach in Bridgman to fill sandbags.

Galina Ovtcharova & Alexei Ovtcharov/Fotki

U.S. Steel’s northwest Indiana facility had its fourth spill this year into a Lake Michigan waterway. The company reported the release to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management on Wednesday night, the same day the government and U.S. Steel posted their revised consent decree

Tyler Lake/WTIU

Government agencies and U.S. Steel have reached a new proposed agreement for how the company will make up for its hexavalent chromium spill. U.S. Steel’s northwest Indiana facility leaked 300 pounds of the cancer-causing chemical into a Lake Michigan waterway two years ago. 

Michigan Easing Permit Process To Fight Lakeshore Erosion

Nov 17, 2019
Jennifer Weingart/WVPE

MANISTEE, Mich. (AP) — State regulators say they want to make it easier for lakeshore property owners to get permits to temporarily fix the effects of high water, especially along Lake Michigan.

The permit fee is being reduced to $100, and a public notice in most cases won’t be required. The goal is to stabilize eroding shore with sandbags, although the bags must eventually be removed.

Northwest Indiana Mayor Says Lake Waters Threaten Pavilion

Nov 13, 2019
https://www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/portage-lakefront-and-riverwalk.htm

PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) — A Northwest Indiana mayor said his police and fire departments want to close a city-managed lakefront pavilion that many people use to enter Indiana Dunes National Park.

Portage Mayor John Cannon said the rising waters of Lake Michigan threaten the $17 million Lakefront Park and Riverwalk.

Park Superintendent Paul Labovitz says that high waves on the lake breached a dune adjacent to the pavilion for the first time last week, and waves were seen rushing into the area again Monday.

forground shows snow fence, snow with trash and broken small boat, gray green lake and gray sky
Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

Lake effect snow brought several inches of snowfall this week to Michiana. Snow is predicted to continue through Tuesday night as temperatures fall.

Many schools in the area are off today due to treacherous road conditions. 

Lake effect happens when cold wind blows over a warmer lake. This band brought snow further inland making it almost to Fort Wayne.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

 

If you’re new to Michiana, or if you just never learned, lake effect snow is what happens when cold air meets a warmer Lake Michigan.

“Generally we get some really cold air that flows over the open waters that are a lot warmer," said Megan Dodson with the National Weather Service. "It can cause some instability and that can generate some snow bands in the form of lake effect.”

Tyler Lake/WTIU

U.S. Steel has reopened most of the Midwest Plant as of Tuesday, Nov. 5. Spokesperson Amanda Malkowski says the facility’s tin line is still closed, but the closure isn’t related to the spill. ​ 

Last week, U.S. Steel’s northwest Indiana facility had its third spill in as many months into Lake Michigan waterways. In a news release, U.S. Steel says its Midwest Plant in Portage was slightly over its limit for hexavalent chromium. 

Michigan Promises Faster Review Of Erosion Control Permits

Oct 31, 2019
Jennifer Weingart/WVPE

 

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan environmental regulators are promising faster reviews of applications to protect homes or structures threatened by rising Great Lakes levels.

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy said Wednesday it will expedite permits for actions such as placing rocks or building seawalls to prevent erosion.

Director Liesl Clark said permit consideration requires a balance between protecting property and safeguarding environmental features such as dunes, shorelines and bluffs.

Tyler Lake/WTIU

The mayor of Portage is calling for several changes to the way ArcelorMittal operates. Last week, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management released an investigative report on the company’s August spill of cyanide and ammonia into a Lake Michigan waterway that killed about 3,000 fish.

Among other things, it showed that ArcelorMittal failed to notify IDEM and the public soon enough about problems at the plant.

Courtesy of IDEM

The state says ArcelorMittal failed to notify the public soon enough about problems that led to a cyanide and ammonia spill in a Lake Michigan tributary. That’s according to an investigative report by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. 

Courtesy of Indiana Dunes Tourism

UPDATE: At the state agriculture and natural resources committee meeting, legislators recommended that the state find the money for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study into solutions to Lake Michigan beach erosion. There’s no telling whether the governor and the state budget committee will act upon that recommendation. 

Municipalities, parks officials, tourism experts, and environmentalists are asking the state for money to help prevent erosion along some Lake Michigan beaches. 

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