High Lake Erie levels great for business, concerning for locals

Lake Erie
Posted at 6:17 AM, Mar 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-08 16:56:08-05

LA SALLE, Mich. (WXYZ) — When the Army Corps of Engineers released their 6-month forecast in February, the headlines appearing across the internet instilled panic — talks of record highs were discussed, but in Monroe County, the news wasn’t exactly jarring.

“You learn how to deal with the lakes,” said Amy Crouchman, manager of the Toledo Beach Marina. “It’s one of the things you have to adapt to.“

Crouchman notes that above average water levels are rough for locals, but something they’ve learned to adapt to. For her, the business side of the lake will be booming even if it means extra work for her employees.

“It doesn’t help my service department,” she said with a laugh, “but it helps all the boaters so they’re not running into anything. They get to go to places they haven’t for a few years because the water is high now.”

Over at the Army Corps of Engineers in downtown Detroit Keith Kompoltowicz tells 7 Action News that he doesn’t expect record levels unless we see an extremely wet couple of months. Still, this will mark a second straight year of above-average lake levels which will likely have locals concerned.

Last year, fast-moving storms swept across Lake Erie and brought flooding to Monroe County — in April, parts of Luna Pier and Frenchtown Township were evacuated as water came over sea walls and flooded homes.

“There’s certainly more change that you can see coastal flooding impacts,” explained Kompoltowicz. “Especially during storm events, that also increases the chances of coastal erosion and damage to infrastructure because wave action is further up the shoreline.”

Crouchman was forced from her home and the damage was so severe she’s only now preparing to return after an elongated insurance/construction process. That said, the high water is a double-edged sword. She knows that it’ll bring out plenty of sailing boats, recreational boaters and fisherman.

Meanwhile, the county spent a portion of a board of commissioners meeting discussing steps to review to keep water from breaching coastal towns. So as locals brace for high water, businesses prepare for large crowds.