Sandbags line the Lange Street Canal to protect from the high-water levels of Lake St. Clair in October.

Sandbags line the Lange Street Canal to protect from the high-water levels of Lake St. Clair in October.

File photo by Kristyne E. Demske

Nautical Mile Merchants to hear about high water

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published February 28, 2020


ST. CLAIR SHORES — Following a highly successful fall event, the Nautical Mile Merchants Association is inviting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers back to the city March 18 to give an update on the forecasted level of Lake St. Clair for 2020.

“We all know that’s the talk around the area, around the Great Lakes, and the last meeting was an introduction to what could possibly happen, so now we’re requesting a follow-up to see where we’re at,” said Donna Flaherty, president of the Nautical Mile Merchants Association.

The event is free and open to the public. It will be held at 8:30 a.m. March 18 at Blossom Heath Inn, 24800 Jefferson Ave. Doors open at 8 a.m.

The event speaker will be Melissa Kropfreiter, hydraulic engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“It’s ... so important for all of our businesses in the Mile,” Flaherty said. “The prediction last October was 6-12 inches higher than it was last year.

“Personally, it’s going to affect my business, so I’m concerned about the flooding.”

Flaherty owns Gifts Afloat, 25020 Jefferson Ave. She said that in 1986, the last time that the level of Lake St. Clair was so high, the building that her business now occupies flooded. The Lange Street Canal is behind the building and, while there are sandbags on top of the seawall, she said she was concerned about what would happen if the levels rose higher.

Elsewhere along the Nautical Mile, she said that, “various marinas have raised docks, but they’re talking about the possibility of raising them higher.”

“It’s a grave concern for everyone,” she said.

Flaherty said that she appreciates how proactive the city has been with the encroaching lake, but that residents and business owners need to be prepared.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ weekly water level forecast from Feb. 21, forecasted levels for the Great Lakes are all well above long-term monthly averages and above their levels from the same time period in 2019. While the current forecasted levels of Lake St. Clair is below the levels of one month ago by two inches, it is projected to rise from its forecasted levels in the next month by five inches.

The city of St. Clair Shores has made sand and sandbags available to residents again this year with piles of sand located in the parking lot of Veterans Memorial Park, 32400 Jefferson Ave., and at St. Clair Shores Civic Arena, 20000 Stephens St. Sandbags are available at the Department of Public Works, 19700 Pleasant St., and at Civic Arena.