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Great Lakes Article:

City hopes for help on Lakeshore erosion project
By Scott Swanson
The Mining Journal
Published December 20th, 2004

MARQUETTE - With assistance from the Great Lakes Cities Initiative and the recently formed Great Lakes Interagency Task Force, Mayor Jerry Irby hopes funding for a long-planned anti-erosion project along Lakeshore Boulevard will become a reality.

A winter storm caused the closing of the road last week, when 10 to 20 foot waves off Lake Superior sent water over the rock ledge and onto the road, causing slippery and dangerous driving conditions.
A $7.2 million revetment project has been approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which would extend from Hawley Street south to the East Fair Avenue intersection with Lakeshore Boulevard.

In theory, the revetment would ward off erosion of the lakeshore, which is severe in several places.

"Through our observations, we have three years to do something or we'll be in jeopardy of losing that road," Irby said.

Marquette officials have talked about doing something to stem erosion along Lakeshore Boulevard for several years, but the high cost has prevented the city from taking any action.

Irby said the proposed project has received support from U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak as well as U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin.

"There's a bundle of for money available for projects throughout the Great Lakes basin," Irby said.

Irby, meanwhile, is a member of the steering committee of the Great Lakes Cities Initiative, which is a binational coalition of mayors and other local officials that works with federal, state, and provincial governments to advance the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes.

Members of the initiative last met in Chicago on Dec. 3. In May, Irby said members will meet to discuss a "framework" of ideas, and all the information gathered, along with funding recommendations, will be forwarded by October to President Bush's Great Lakes Interagency Task Force.

The task force, created in May, brings together ten federal agency and Cabinet officers to provide strategic direction on federal Great Lakes policy, priorities and programs

"We're finally getting our act together," Irby said.

A 1981 study by the corps determined that the Upper Harbor breakwater caused the erosion problem by changing how water moves in and out on that stretch of beach. The breakwater was constructed by the corps in stages starting in 1896 and ending in 1935.

The 1981 study was based partly on 1972 and 1974 Northern Michigan University studies.

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