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Critical Dunes and High Risk Erosion Site Evaluations

Lake Michigan sand dunes are part of the largest system of freshwater dunes in the world. In Michigan, there are about 225,000 acres of sand dunes. In 1989, the Michigan government designated approximately 74,000 of those acres as critical dunes. These areas are the tallest, most spectacular dunes along Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.

High Risk Erosion areas are those shorelands of the Great Lakes and where recession of active erosion has been occurring at a long-term average rate of one foot or more per year. The erosion can be caused from one or several factors. High water levels, storms, wind, ground water seepage, surface water runoff, and frost are important factors causing erosion.

Critical Dune Site Evaluations

Properties located in the Critical Dune area require a permit from EGLE for almost all activities. Some existing site conditions can make obtaining an EGLE permit difficult.

We recommend a preliminary site evaluation of properties within the Critical Dune area to determine the feasibility of a proposed project.

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High Risk Erosion Site Evaluations

A permit is required from EGLE for construction of all roofed structures and septic systems within the High Risk Erosion area. Each High Risk Erosion area along the shoreline has been given a specific 30-year and 60-year setback distance. 

Onsite evaluations of properties within High Risk Erosion areas are necessary to determine the current location of these setbacks.  The setback locations dictate the permittable location of a home and septic system and if there are any restrictions on the design of the home or addition to an existing home.