- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

MARYSVILLE, Mich. (AP) - Great Lakes water levels are rebounding from a slump that started in the 1990s, and that’s causing problems for Barry Kreiner.

Kreiner, head of the Marysville Department of Public Works, was standing at Chrysler Beach recently watching a large yacht cruise up the St. Clair River.

He shook his head as the yacht’s wake rolled up the river, crashing against rocks and nibbling away the shoreline.

Kreiner told The Times Herald of Port Huron ( https://bwne.ws/1gCa6nh ) that he keeps tabs on the water levels in the river and, since October 2013, the water has risen 34 inches - that’s two inches shy of 3 feet.

The beach area, he said, has decreased by a third to a half in some places.

But the bigger problem, Kreiner said, is the erosion caused where the waves slap at the shoreline. In some instances, he said, the waves have undercut the stone rip-rap along the shore, causing it to slump.

The city just finished planting tall grass along the riverbank to discourage Canada geese, and those plantings were in danger of sliding into the river, Kreiner said.

“When the waves were coming by from the freighters’ wakes and cruisers’ wakes, it was undermining our barrier,” Kreiner said.

“Some of the stones fell in and it was beginning to worry me that we would lose some of our sidewalk. We had to do something to stabilize the bank.”

City crews recently were removing the rip-rap, putting down a heavyweight fabric designed to limit erosion and then replacing the rip-rap with larger boulders.

“We doubled the amount of boulders that were there,” he said.

Kreiner said the old rip-rap consisted of 24-inch boulders; he said he ordered 150 tons of 4- by 5-foot boulders. He estimates the project will cost about $20,000 with most of that coming from capital improvement funds and a small amount from maintenance funds.

The city received $500,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and $239,000 from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for riverfront restoration at Chrysler Beach that was mostly completed, except for plantings, in 2014. It also completed a living riverfront project along River Road in 2013 that cost $1.8 million with most of that coming through a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant.

Kreiner, however, said the rip-rap was part of an earlier project

“This stuff has been here since 2002, 2003,” he said. “This is kind of like the very first improvement the city of Marysville did to the beach.”

He said the water level at Chrysler Beach still is 14 inches below the high water level recorded in 1987.

“It’s not an emergency, but it certainly is a priority,” he said.

___

Information from: Times Herald, https://www.thetimesherald.com

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