Erosion claims home along Lake Michigan bluff; lake levels remain near record highs

Erosion along the shore of Lake Michigan
Erosion along the shore of Lake Michigan erosion claims Patricia "Tish" Gancer's beach house, pictured on Thursday in White River Township, near Montague, Mich.
Cory Morse | The Grand Rapids Press via AP

A small home along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Michigan fell down a sandy bluff in an area plagued by erosion.

Muskegon County officials had been monitoring the condition of the White River Township home that toppled over about 11 p.m. Tuesday, according to WOOD-TV.

Neighbor Bob Lloyd also was checking on the home that he said has been unsafe for a while.

“It was raised off the back of the foundation 3 inches and I knew it was imminent it was going over,” Lloyd told WZZM-TV. “I heard this sound ... and I looked and could just see the house going.”

The home's owner was at another property when it fell. She wanted neighbors to pitch in for the cost of a shoreline rock wall to slow erosion but ran out of time, according to WZZM-TV.

White River Township is about 50 miles northwest of Grand Rapids.

Erosion along the shore of Lake Michigan
Erosion along the shore of Lake Michigan claims Patricia "Tish" Gancer's beach house, pictured on Thursday in White River Township, near Montague, Mich.
Cory Morse | The Grand Rapids Press via AP

Rising Great Lakes levels and storms over Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior have caused beach erosion, flooding and damage to seawalls and roads. The International Lake Superior Board of Control reported Friday that Lake Superior water levels remained about 14 inches above average to start the month of January — and just an inch below the record for this time of year, set in 1986.

The water level on Lakes Michigan and Huron is about 3 feet above average.

An October storm battered the Lake Michigan shoreline near Spring Lake, Michigan, and swept away up to 20 feet of dunes in some communities.

Lake Superior storms in recent years have caused damage along the shore in Duluth, and sent waves into the backyards of some homes on Park Point.

Michigan environmental regulators said in October they would expedite permits for homeowners seeking to place rocks or build seawalls to prevent erosion.

The National Park Service has said it will work with Beverly Shores in northwestern Indiana to install sand traps along the Lake Michigan shoreline to combat beach erosion at the Indiana Dunes National Park.

MPR News contributed to this report.

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