By Bria Brown

LAKE MICHIGAN, Michigan (WNEM) – Restoring the Great Lakes as water levels continue to decrease is putting coastal communities at risk. Researchers are studying the effects to try and prevent future erosion.

“The last time lake level was as high as it is now was in the mid 80’s,” Ethan Theuerkauf, an assistant professor at Michigan State University said.

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Water levels in the Great Lakes are high, increasing the risk for erosion and shoreline damage.

“We’ve certainly seen over the last decade, or almost a decade, really dramatic examples of houses falling into the lakes, lots of piers and docks getting flooded,” Theuerkauf said.

A team of geographers at Michigan State University is calling on citizen scientists to help them learn more about what to expect from erosion.

“Communities need good data. They need good data to make good decisions,” Theuerkauf said.

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Data that citizen scientists collect is data that geographers can’t get alone. They enlisted drone pilots in six Michigan communities, one of them is Iosco county.

“We’ve already got something that’s open to every person that goes to a Michigan coastal area. We have an app called Pic Shore,” Theuerkauf said.

Anyone can upload photos of shoreline damage to this app, it helps scientists collect data.

“A record of what’s happening during these periods of high lake level. And bring everyone together who are all experiencing the same hazard,” Theuerkauf said.

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