The ever-changing Lake Michigan shoreline is always a sight to behold.
PHOTOS: TIMOTHY THOMPKINS

Capturing Kenosha: Our spectacular shoreline

Have you noticed any changes along the shores?

By Thomas CorraoKENOSHA.COM

Recently retired after 25 years with the Kenosha Sheriff’s Department, Corrao enjoys fishing, gardening, foraging for wild foods, golfing and photography. His favorite subjects are sunrises and sunsets. Corrao's future retirement plans include traveling the United States in a recreational vehicle with his wife and documenting their journey through a travel blog and YouTube channel.

Over the past year, I’ve spent most of my mornings at the Lake Michigan shoreline taking pictures and embracing its true beauty.

In 2020, local residents living along Lake Michigan dealt with high water levels, erosion and shrinking shorelines.
PHOTO: THOMAS CORRAO

Lake Michigan is a living being and affected by its surrounding environment, much like you and I when stressors affect our daily lives. The Kenosha lakefront has undergone some drastic improvements in recent years and the shoreline is changing as a result.

Back in 2020, local residents living along Lake Michigan dealt with high water levels, erosion and shrinking shorelines. Since then, numerous revetment projects, harbor dredging and drought conditions have impacted water levels and our continuously changing shoreline.

The U.S. National Weather Service recently published an interesting graphic, documenting monthly Lake Michigan levels from January 2019 through projected readings this spring.

According to the graphic, the lake levels have steadily declined since September 2020 and is expected to continue until it’s approximately two feet lower than the record-high monthly averages. 

Several periods of unseasonably cold, dry air have affected Lake Michigan so far this winter. The cold, dry air flowing across the warmer Lake Michigan waters results in increased evaporation rates and a greater likelihood for decreasing water levels.

Looking at the shoreline on a daily basis, I started to realize Simmons Island Beach was growing throughout the year. 

Water coming up to the rocks.
PHOTO: THOMAS CORRAO

The above picture is of the area just south of Kennedy Drive, looking towards the beach. If you look you can clearly see that the water comes completely up to the rocks in the area closest to where the people are sitting. The picture was taken in early summer this past year. 

Now take a look below at a picture taken in January of 2022.

The formation of a beach.
PHOTO: TIMOTHY THOMPKINS

The shoreline is definitely growing and it’s happening quickly in this particular area. I have a theory that the receding water levels and the restructuring of the rock wall just north of the area combined with the sand that was pumped out into the lake from the main shipping harbor during the spring dredging have somehow affected the currents flowing through the area. 

In turn, the sand is being redistributed by waves all along Simmons Island Beach. After seeing how crowded the beach was last summer, it’s going to be a definite plus for beachgoers next season if the growth continues. I believe approximately one-quarter mile of beach has been added.

A picture of the Kenosha Harbor last year after dredging and the placement of rocks to prevent erosion was completed.
PHOTO: THOMAS CORRAO
Ripples in the sand made by strong winds from the north pier this past year.
PHOTO: THOMAS CORRAO
The current constantly changes the complexion of the mouth of the Pike River.
PHOTO: THOMAS CORRAO

Mother Nature is certainly doing some of her best work once again down by the Kenosha shoreline. It makes me happy to think sometimes mankind can intervene and make a positive influence on the environment. 

Too often we take it for granted that things will never change, but the fact is everything is in a state of constant change.

I encourage everyone to get out and visit the lakefront and appreciate one of Kenosha’s greatest assets. We are truly blessed to be able to enjoy the wonders of Lake Michigan right here in our hometown. 

Take care everyone, I’ll be back again next week with another edition of Capturing Kenosha.

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