City hopes for help on Lakeshore erosion
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 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,"
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
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
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.