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Coastal erosion finds Lakewood and residents planning different revetment projects

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 5/27/2020 By John Benson, cleveland.com
a large body of water: Coastal erosion is an issue for Lakewood residents living along Lake Erie. © John Benson/cleveland.com/cleveland.com/TNS Coastal erosion is an issue for Lakewood residents living along Lake Erie.

LAKEWOOD, Ohio -- City Council recently approved a resolution allowing an Edgewater Drive resident to undertake lakeshore protection measures in hopes of staving off coastal erosion.

While coastal erosion has always been a concern for residents living on the shores of Lake Erie, water levels continue to increase. The U.S. Corps of Army Engineers recently reported Lake Erie is currently 2 inches higher than last year.

“The resolution is a formality and is required for ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) in order for the resident to get a permit,” Lakewood City Engineer Mark Papke said. “What’s being proposed is a revetment to protect his property against Lake Erie coastal threats.

“When these plans come in we’ll help them such as giving them the submerged-land lease and the authorization to proceed as long as nothing gets in the way of city plans or projects. Our position is to help them out as much as we can because those properties are a high value to the city. We want private property owners to protect their land; however, financially we are not obligated to help them.”

What’s being proposed along the shores of Edgewater Drive is an estimated $80,000 to $100,000 revetment project involving the installation of armor stone. The submerged quarried limestone is designed to dissipate wave energy 100 feet from shore.

cleveland.com reached out to the Edgewater Drive homeowner, who did not immediately return a request for comment. However, Engineered Technical Solutions (ETS) Manager James Schilens is part of the team designing the project.

“It’s about a 65-foot cliff, and he’s losing property as a result of the high water,” Schilens said. “Part of his property is becoming undermined because of the erosion. There used to be a breakwater that was 30 or 40 feet from the base of his property in the lake.

“That’s now submerged. So rough water gets over it. He’s seeing erosion -- multiple feet breaking off and dropping into the lake.”

Schilens said the resident, who also wants to add a steel stairway providing access to the shoreline, is about halfway through the permitting process -- requiring approval from agencies such as Army Corps of Engineers, ODNR, Ohio EPA.

“It can take up to two years to get all permitting,” Schilens said. “Lake levels are record high and they’re continuing to rise. Every inch of water that is elevated disproportionately creates a larger wave.

“That damages more, especially if there’s no freeze in the lake. That wave action keeps working against any bluff or shore or anything and rakes the material down.”

A similar revetment project involving Forest Cliff Drive and Summit Avenue residents was proposed last year, but has yet to come to fruition.

As for city-owned landed affected by coastal erosion, Papke said Lakewood is active.

“We’re protecting our infrastructure,” Papke said. “Specifically, we’ve prioritized our outfalls. We already completed a project on Webb Road and we’re in the design phase for the Summit (Avenue) outfall rehabilitation.

“It’s a stone revetment system that protects the land around the outfall itself while also reconstructing the outfall.”

Read more news from the Sun Post Herald here.

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