Resources for property owners

Coastal hazards like erosion and flooding along Wisconsin’s Great Lakes coasts can threaten homes, businesses and infrastructure. Below is a list of available re­sources and tools that can help:

  • Understand coastal hazards
  • Assess your vulnerability
  • Review options for addressing coastal hazards
  • Implement Actions

This list is also available as a printable PDF document

While these tools can be helpful to gauge coastal hazard risk and develop a plan, major or immediate concerns should seek assistance from an engineer, geologist, or other qualified professional. Wisconsin Sea Grant is providing a list of Great Lakes coastal engineering and/or bluff stability consulting firms as a resource for property owners looking for professionals who can provide expertise and services. This list is not meant to be an endorsement of any firm, nor is it all-inclusive.


Understanding Coastal Processes

When dealing with coastal hazards like erosion and flooding, it can be helpful to understand how the forces of nature like water levels and waves can combine to threaten your property.

Living on the Coast
Booklet describing natural coastal processes and overall strategies to manage risk to coastal properties. It is a go-to resource for getting a broad understanding of the issues facing a property.


Assessing Vulnerability

Flood and erosion hazard mapping combined can help begin to understand the risk a particular property may face from coastal hazards

Wisconsin Shoreline Inventory and Oblique Photo Viewer
View historic photos of the coast, assessments of bluff and shoreline conditions, and measurements of historic bluff and shoreline recession in a web-based, interactive map of Wisconsin coastal data.

FEMA Flood Map Service Center
A Search-By-Address tool to quickly see if a property is in a FEMA mapped floodplain, which indicates it is at high flood risk. Properties not in a FEMA mapped floodplain should still assume they are at a moderate to low flood risk.


Reviewing Your Options

Many possible options exist to address coastal hazard issues. The appropriate actions for a particular property are often situational and site specific.

Do I need flood insurance?
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website with information on flood insurance.

Adapting to a Changing Coast – Options and Resources for Lake Michigan Property Owners
Publication with an overview of 16 management options for adapting to changing bluffs and beaches.

Great Lakes Shore Protection Structures and Their Effects on Coastal Processes
Detailed fact sheet describing different types of shore protection structures and their potential impacts, both positive and negative, on the shoreline.

Stabilizing Coastal Slopes on the Great Lakes
Detailed fact sheet describing the coastal conditions and processes that can lead to bluff failure and some options for stabilizing the slope of a coastal bluff.


Implementing Actions

If you decide that your best option is to proceed with constructed measures to protect your coastal property, then it’s time to move forward and work with contractors, engineers, and potentially even your neighbors to consider, prioritize, and implement appropriate management actions.

Working with Engineers and Contractors on Shore Protection Projects
Fact sheet describing the process of finding and working with qualified coastal professionals


Great Lakes Coastal Engineering Firms and Contractors
Partial list of known firms that have completed projects on Lakes Michigan or Superior. It is only a partial list and is in no way a list of “approved” or “recommended” firms.


Placing Erosion Control Structures on Great Lakes
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website with information on requirements and considerations for shore protection projects in Wisconsin