Algoma beaten down by wind and waves

High waves that are eroding the pier hit the lighthouse in Algoma (WBAY photo)
High waves that are eroding the pier hit the lighthouse in Algoma (WBAY photo)(WBAY)
Published: Oct. 21, 2019 at 5:27 PM CDT
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along the lakeshore last month. Officials worried about further damage strong autumn winds might cause.

That was a reality they found themselves dealing with Monday.

City officials say the high water levels are a daily threat. Winds coming from the east only add to those problems, preventing the Ahnapee River from emptying into Lake Michigan, causing the water to back up inland.

The city is keeping a close eye on the Chamber of Commerce building. A dropoff more than 7 feet high formed along the beach as water washed the sand and soil away.

They placed fencing around the area hoping to stop further erosion and protect the building.

At Crescent Beach in Algoma, an orange snow fence blocked off the south pier, which is eroding further with every wave.

Driftwood and debris litter the sand, and a flock of seagulls kept themselves grounded on shore after fighting to fly against the wind.

You could also see an occasional discarded rubber tire wash in from Lake Michigan. The public works director tells us his crew has been called to pick up more than 100 tires so far this year, all of them properly disposed of with money that was not planned for in the budget.

With active weather, I'm told that even when crews try to clean up the beach, it's littered with debris again in under an hour.

On days like Monday, city officials just watch and wait, trying to decide the best way to move forward.

"We're looking at a couple different scenarios, but looking to spend money in the right direction to stop it from getting any worse but not yet having to take this prevention out and start over from scratch come spring," Algoma Public Works Director Matt Murphy said.

"Usually there's more damage after winter just because of the ice shoves that come, the stronger storms in the winter, so we anticipate with the high water, if it's a really cold winter, you might not see the evaporation so the water levels I think will be on the increase, especially if there's a lot of snow," Parks & Recreation Director Sara Robertson said.

Although the city is worried about the infrastructure and projects that are taking a hit, Robertson said Algoma has a lot of volunteers who step up and help when needed.

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