Eco-friendly coastal protection solutions for properties at the Great Lakes

Damaged shoreline at the Great Lakes.

The erosion issue along the Great Lakes and its impact on property owners

Current challenges at the Great Lakes coasts

The Great Lakes, a series of five interconnected freshwater lakes in North America, are not only an impressive natural wonder but also a significant ecosystem and valuable resource for millions of people. However, in recent years, increasing erosion along the shorelines of the Great Lakes has had significant impacts on surrounding communities and property owners, including:

  • Loss of land and infrastructure: Erosion can cause shorelines to recede, endangering land and infrastructure such as homes, roads, and pipelines.
  • Property devaluation: Properties along the shorelines loose value due to erosion, as potential buyers consider the risk of coastal erosion and flooding.
  • Insurance issues: Property owners along the Great Lakes may struggle to obtain insurance coverage for their properties or face rising insurance premiums due to increased erosion and flooding risks.
  • Economic impacts: Erosion can also have indirect economic impacts on property owners by affecting tourism, recreational activities, and the local economy.

Given the widespread pollution from plastic waste/microplastics in the Great Lakes, authorities mandate the avoidance of plastics in erosion control solutions as part of the approval process. Existing erosion control solutions involving plastics, such as solutions with geotextile tubes, must even be dismantled.

Microplastic-free, regulatory compliant and cost-efficient solutions

When planning coastal protection solutions, it is crucial to minimize the use of plastics and consider alternative, eco-friendly options. There are alternative materials and techniques that can be used for coastal protection solutions without resorting to plastic.

In particular, innovative coastal protection solutions using geotextile sand containers made from renewable resources show promise in addressing the erosion problem in the Great Lakes. These environmentally friendly solutions provide effective erosion protection while minimizing impacts on the environment, aligning with the goals of sustainable development, and enhancing the resilience of coastal areas to climate change. By incorporating such innovative approaches into coastal management strategies, stakeholders can work towards preserving the natural beauty and ecological integrity of the Great Lakes region for future generations.