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Indiana Erosion Along Lake Michigan

Indiana Lakeshore Erosion

Indiana Lake Michigan shoreline erosion map

The environmental changes in Lake Michigan water levels have impacted the Indiana shoreline for decades.

The lake levels fluctuate greatly, peaking at near-record levels in late 2019 at more than 582 feet. This level is predicted to hold steady through June 2020, although as recently as 2013 the lake level stood at near record lows of 576 feet. The cyclical nature of these changes makes it difficult to prepare for the extent of natural erosion that may occur along the 45-mile stretch of Indiana shoreline in three counties (Lake, LaPorte, Porter). Coastal erosion can be significantly increased when there are barriers to the natural sediment drift along the shore. Human activities such as development, construction of shoreline protection and recreational activities can influence natural coastal processes.

Efforts to protect the Indiana coastal regions date back as early as 1963, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started the first of many environmental studies in the area. The federal government also owns a portion of the shoreline—resulting in a shared responsibility between local, state and federal entities. Several efforts, such as the importing of massive amounts of sand, as well as the construction of shoreline barriers and seawalls have slowed the natural but damaging effects of the lake changes.

Surrounding states have sought federal assistance due to singular events (specific time frames) that have met FEMA damage thresholds. In Indiana, the damage has occurred over time and not been restricted to a single event: a requirement for a state and federal disaster declaration and availability of the State Disaster Relief Fund and federal funds.

In February 2020, Governor Eric Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-01 directing state agencies to collaborate, assess continued impacts and plan for additional solutions.

Lake Michigan Shoreline Timeline

Lake Michigan Shoreline Timeline

Shoreline Photos


  • Beverly Shores, January 2020 (Photo credit: IDHS)


  • Beverly Shores, January 2020 (Photo credit: IDHS)


  • Beverly Shores, January 2020 (Photo credit: IDHS)


  • Long Beach, February 2020 (Photo credit: IDHS)


  • Long Beach, February 2020 (Photo credit: IDHS)


  • Long Beach, February 2020 (Photo credit: IDHS)


  • Indiana Dunes National Park, January 2020 (Photo credit: IDHS)


  • Ogden Dunes, February 2020 (Photo credit: IDHS)


  • Ogden Dunes, February 2020 (Photo credit: IDHS)


  • Portage Park, February 2020 (Photo credit: IDHS)


  • Portage Park, February 2020 (Photo credit: IDHS)

lakeshore erosion

Reporting Erosion

IDHS is collecting reports of Lake Michigan shoreline erosion. Individual property owners only: If your Indiana property has been affected by the shoreline erosion, please submit a report using the Indiana Lakeshore Reporting Tool below.

Indiana Lakeshore Reporting Tool

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