In a letter sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Friday asking for help with bluff erosion in Mount Pleasant, Gov. Scott Walker cited the immediate threat to residential and village property.
“The erosion of shoreline is threatening residential housing and the village’s infrastructure,” he wrote in the letter. “The state is doing everything it can to assist homeowners and local governments. We are asking the U.S. Army Corps for assistance, and we appreciate their attention to this serious issue.”
The governor’s letter comes a few days after more than 150 residents packed Village Hall to hear from state and federal agencies offered information about programs for affected property owners.
More than a dozen homes – perhaps as many as 20 – in Mount Pleasant and another 10 in Caledonia as well as several in Ozaukee and Kenosha counties have been identified as under immediate threat of crumbing into Lake Michigan. The bluffs are eroding at an accelerated rate because of unusually high lake levels and bigger, rougher waves.
In his letter to the Army Corps, Walker specifically stated the danger facing village infrastructure like roads and the sewer and water pipes underneath.
“Two village roads, including utilities within the roads, are immediately threatened by bluff failure. Current erosion rates will soon threaten (Sheridan Road,) a nearby public street paralleling the affected area,” he wrote.
The request falls under Section 14 of the 1946 Flood Control Act, and Walker is urging the Corps to include Mount Pleasant in their list of projects when they make their presentation before the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Walker was sure to “cc” Congressman Paul Ryan and chairs of several House and Senate committees as well as state reps like Robin Vos, Van Wanggaard, Peter Barca and Bob Wirch.
Whether or not the Corps can step in is a matter of timing. A representative told The Journal Times they are reviewing the situation and what the Corps can do to help, but assistance won’t be immediate.
Walker, however, notes in the press release accompanying the letter that he is urging the Departments of Administration and Natural Resources to work with residents on expedited paperwork so they can start deploying measures to protect their properties. The DNR website provides resources for residents interested in pursuing this route.