Sea wall aims to fight erosion at Empire beach

EMPIRE, Mich. (WOOD) — The village of Empire in northern Michigan is installing a sea wall to attempt to protect a popular beach from erosion.

Crews are using pilings to serve as a makeshift sea wall at Empire Beach Village Park, driving them deep into the sand. After that’s finished, a brick wall that was washed out earlier this year can be rebuilt.

Erosion has been brutal this year, amplified by high waters and strong storms.

All along the Lake Michigan shoreline, homeowners are working to protect their property. Some have installed sea walls and others have hauled in huge boulders to try to slow the erosion. At least one house has been moved back from the water and another was demolished before it could collapse off a bluff and into the water. Some people have left their houses.

Public property is being affected, too. Walkways at Holland State Park were damaged. Officials in Muskegon are worried the high water could wash out a stretch of Beach Street and threaten the Water Filtration Plant.

State lawmakers from along the lakeshore have asked Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to declare a state of emergency due to the erosion to open the door for additional state aid and possibly a federal declaration.