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Beach Erosion Could Jeopardize Swim Season

CHICAGO (CBS) -- There are growing concerns over Lake Michigan's water levels.

CBS 2's Roseanne Tellez has the story from Wilmette where some beaches may not open because of the rising water.

At Langdon Beach in Wilmette the swim season may be in jeopardy as the beach rapidly disappears.

Park district officials in Wilmette know the problem well and point to their shoreline where higher-than-normal water levels and erosion could close Langdon Beach for the season.

"There's a lot of concern within the community, not just as to whether they'll be able to use the beach but what's the future for this beach," said Kathy Bingham of the Wilmette Park District. She said first a ridge developed...

"And then two weeks later we've got an eight foot cliff where all the sand has been pulled out," said Bingham.

Sand that old photos show was abundant in 2014 and still in good supply last year.

"The problem is the lake keeps coming up and taking the sand away," said Jerry Ulrich, Superintendent of Parks for the Village of Wilmette.

The Army Corps of Engineers said the lake level fluctuates. It's currently 580 feet above sea level.  But it's been higher.

Back in 1986 it hit 582 feet. What's notable now is that just five years ago it was at a record low 576 feet, making this an unprecedented rise.

"It's taken more away in the last two weeks then I've seen in the 30 years I've worked here," said Ulrich.

He's convinced the beach will return.

"It's a beautiful parcel of land it's a shame it has to happen like this but you can't you can't fight Mother Nature and you can't fight this lake," said Ulrich.


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