High water levels on Great Lakes eating away at decks and land
KITCHENER -- Some lakeshore property owners are dealing with devastating losses from the Great Lakes hitting record-level high waters.
The lakes have left widespread erosion, eating away at decks and land.
Linda Marshall has owned a property on Peacock Point since 2006. It's on the shores of Lake Erie.
As water levels continue to rise, there's hardly any beach left on the beachfront property.
"We've lost the deck, we've lost the retainer wall, we've had to move our shed," Marshall said.
Marshall said she's worried about what will be damaged next.
"I think the house will end up in the lake," she said.
The Peacock Point Cottage Owners Association said many residents have lost dozens of feet of their property to the water in the past few years.
"Water is getting higher, winds are getting stronger," President Diane Reynolds said. "We're going to end up with nothing. It's just eating away."
Experts said the erosion will continue.
"High water levels might last a year or two," said Mary-Louise Byrne, a professor with Wilfrid Laurier University's Department of Geography and Environmental Studies.
Byrne said the lower Great Lakes are some to the highest water levels because the lakes are made of up what's considered "unconsolidated materials."
"It might be made of til that was made up of glaciers," Byrne said. "Sand, silt, clay, that material can be easily moved by waves."
The water levels are determined by Mother Nature, Byrne said.
"If you put rocks at the base, it will be a short-term solution. But, eventually the lake will take the rock, too," Byrne said.
Storm patterns and the inflow of groundwater can also lead to higher water levels.
"Every time the lake is rough, we go, 'What are we going to lose tomorrow?'" Marshall said.
Beachfront homeowners need to take extra caution when building on their land, according to experts.
Byrne said governments may need to step in and expropriate properties if the water levels become too dangerous.