An Integrated Physical-Social-Community (PSC) Approach for Sustainable Shore Protection, Beach Integrity, and Bluff/Dune Stabilization Along Lake Michigan

Beverly Shores 2019 1500 x 600

Beverly Shores, IN beach

Recent record-high water levels across the Laurentian Great Lakes have shoreline communities scrambling to protect beaches, property, and infrastructure from rapid and widespread erosion. This current situation, and the uncertainty associated with lake levels in the future, underscores the need for comprehensive shoreline management strategies that will create resilient shorelines capable of buffering future conditions. However, shoreline protection strategies must be carefully implemented, ideally in a coordinated manner, since “hard” protection measures such as sea walls and revetments generally have large impacts on neighboring shorelines. Additionally, shoreline management does not merely involve applications of engineering principles to solve the problem; shorelines are highly social systems that require careful consideration of social and community perspectives.

This collaborative project, jointly funded by the Illinois-Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin Sea Grants tackles key physical, social, and community challenges associated with Lake Michigan shorelines. At Purdue we are particularly focused on the Illinois and Indiana shorelines, seeking to not only understand the physical mechanisms associated with the current shoreline state and erosion, but also to place the current state in historical perspective. Our work involves shoreline surveys (terrestrial and bathymetric), nearshore hydrodynamic and sediment measurements, and analysis of historical aerial imagery. Additional work by Dr. Aaron Thompson at Purdue is examining the attitudes and perceptions of Indiana and Illinois shoreline communities, particularly with respect to shoreline protection alternatives.


Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, Michigan Sea Grant, Wisconsin Sea Grant


Chin Wu, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Guy Meadows and Pengfei Xue, Michigan Tech; Mark Brederland, Michigan State University; Aaron Thompson, Purdue University; and others.

Selected Publications

Rapid Lake Michigan shoreline changes revealed by UAV LiDAR surveys
Troy, C.D., Y.-T. Cheng, Y.-C. Lin, and A. Habib. Coastal Engineering PDF  PDF  Online Article

A simple, fully-automated shoreline detection algorithm for high-resolution, multi-spectral imagery
Abdelhady, H., C.D. Troy, A. Habib, and R. Manish Remote Sensing PDF  PDF  Online Article

A reduced-complexity shoreline model for coastal areas with large water level fluctuations
Abdelhady, H., and C.D. Troy Coastal Engineering PDF  PDF  Online Article

Modeling Lake Michigan Shoreline Changes in Response to Rapid Water Level Fluctuations
Abdelhady, H., and C.D. Troy Proceedings of The Coastal Sediments Conference 2023 PDF  Online Article

Beach rebuilding period buffers Indiana beach erosion in Lake Michigan
Nelson-Mercer, B., H. Tomkins, T. Ahsan, and C.D. Troy Accepted, Journal of Great Lakes Research

Trends of Sediment Resuspension and Budget in Southern Lake Michigan under Changing Wave Climate and Hydrodynamic Environment
Longhuan Zhu, Pengfei Xue, Guy A. Meadows, Chenfu Huang, Jianzhong Ge, Cary D. Troy, Chin H. Wu Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans PDF  PDF  Online Article