Resource of the Month

Each month a different resource or tool that can assess shoreline changes, provide education on resilient practices, or support planning and policy development for coastal communities is highlighted on this page.


August 2020

Protect your Home from Bluff Erosion: Fact Sheet

The fact sheet, “When Your Home is at Imminent Risk from Bluff Failure”, is put together by the Wisconsin Sea Grant to help homeowners understand when their homes are at imminent risk of bluff failure, what to do about it, and where to get more information. It is a simple 2 pager that lays out the most pertinent information about risk factors, options for repair, and who to contact.






 July 2020

Great Lakes Water Level Viewer

The Great Lakes Water Level Dashboard is a free, online, interactive website that portrays monthly water level information for all the Great Lakes. The dashboard allows users to view water levels, oscillation/pattern indices, percentages, hydrological input/output, speeds, temperatures, and flow rates. This tool is designed to support and be used by anyone interested in better understanding the long-term variations of water levels on the Great Lakes. The data is also updated frequently so users are able to download the most up to date data that is portrayed on the website.



June 2020

Green Infrastructure Code Audit Workbook

The University of Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Tackling Barriers to Green Infrastructure: An Audit of Municipal Codes and Ordinances is a tool for municipalities to use in order to identify codes and ordinances that hinder green infrastructure (GI) placement and suggest language to modify. There are 5 key strategies the workbook focuses on (1) reduction of impervious surfaces, (2) disconnection of effective impervious areas, (3) restoration of natural functions, (4) standards for specific land uses that can generate stormwater pollution, (5) encourage the use of green infrastructure in comprehensive plans, grant applications and purpose statements as the preferred approach to stormwater management.


May 2020

Model Ordinance for Lake Michigan Bluff Setback

SEWRPC’s model ordinance details an example community zoning ordinance that could help reduce the risk of developments being exposed to coastal hazards and limit the impacts of those hazards to the shoreline. The ordinance can include provisions on setback distances from the bluff edge for new development or redevelopment, building relocation, vegetation removal, stormwater management, on-site waste disposal, or the use of shore protection devices, as well as requirements for engineering or geotechnical analyses of proposed site modifications that may affect safety or bluff stability. 

March 2020

USACE Great Lakes High Water web page

A repository of information compiled to help inform decision-making related to Great Lakes water levels as well as connect people to a variety of informational and planning resources. The web page features four key elements: an FAQ section, informational videos from different offices within USACE, a damage assessment survey, and links to additional resources.


February 2020

Wisconsin Coastal Atlas

The Wisconsin Coastal Atlas is a technology platform that enables people to better understand coastal issues, share coastal data and inform decision-making about sustainable use of the Great Lakes.The atlas includes five elements: maps, catalog, tools, learn and topics. The atlas serves as a gateway to interactive maps and decision support tools relevant to Great Lakes management and provides access to place-based learning resources about coastal issues in Wisconsin. 



January 2020

NYSG Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Index

New York’s Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Index is a self-assessment tool developed by the New York Sea Grant Institute to bring community leaders together and provide them with a simple method for identifying areas in which their community can be more resilient to coastal hazards such as coastal flooding and weather disasters. A “yes” or “no” question format helps community leaders investigate vulnerabilities across six sectors: critical facilities and infrastructure, transportation issues, community plans and agreements, mitigation measures, business plans, and social systems.



December 2019

Great Lakes Emergency Erosion Control Self Certification

The Self Certification is a streamlined temporary erosion control placement authorization process intended for emergency situations on Great Lakes shorelines. This process was established to allow homeowners to protect their properties from imminent risk without permitting delays. 


November 2019

Great Lakes Coastal Shore Protection Structures & Their Effects on Coastal Processes

This fact sheet discusses the different types of shore protection and their impacts on coastal processes. This document is written for a broad audience and is intended to help users develop an understanding of Great Lakes coastal processes and how coastal structures can impact coastal processes so that they can make informed decisions when choosing an engineered solution.


October 2019

Great Lakes Water Level Dashboard

This online, interactive dashboard of monthly water level data for each of the Great Lakes is designed for users to easily examine the fluctuation of the Great Lakes water levels and forecasts at a variety of time scales. The dashboard also includes references for all data, forecasts, and data products.


September 2019

Stabilizing Coastal Slopes for the Great Lakes

This publication discusses topics including visible indicators of erosion and slope instability, management of surface water and groundwater, evidence of soil creep, improving slope stability, and determining a safe setback distance to help users make informed coastal management decisions. The publication also has a list of references to additional information about each topic.



August 2019

Wisconsin Shoreline Inventory & Oblique Photo Viewer – Featuring NEW Bluff Recession Data

This interactive map has been updated to be both a qualitative and quantitative inventory of shoreline conditions on Wisconsin’s Great Lakes coasts. Watch our tutorial to learn how to navigate the map and use the photos, shoreline condition inventories, and recession information to identify and prioritize areas for coastal management.


July 2019

Adapting to a Changing Coast (for Property Owners)

Adapting to a Changing Coast for Property Owners is a booklet that provides property owners with options and resources for responding to the changing bluff and beaches of Lake Michigan. This document presents options, rather than prescriptions, that property owners in Southeast Wisconsin could consider to address coastal hazards. 



June 2019

Lake Level Viewer

The Lake Level Viewer is a web-based, interactive map used to help users visualize potential Great Lakes water level changes and impacts. The map allows users to pinpoint areas of concern for flooding and heavy erosion in addition to showing potential flooding projected pictures of local landmarks to help officials, and citizens, determine where their community is most vulnerable.


May 2019

Naturally Resilient Communities

Naturally Resilient Communities is an online guide about nature-based solutions to various coastal hazards. This guide generates a suite of nature-based infrastructure approaches that are specific to the user’s environment and type of issue trying to be addressed such as stormwater flooding or erosion control.



April 2019

Vegetative Best Management Practices

Vegetative Best Management Practices: A Manual for Pennsylvania/Lake Erie Bluff Landowners is a handbook that provides technical assistance to Lake Erie property owners affected by shoreline erosion and bluff recession. The manual provides recommendations about using vegetation to stabilize coastal bluffs and counteract erosive forces.



March 2019

Working with Engineers and Contractors

Working with Engineers and Contractors on Shore Protection Projects is a four page document that highlights the benefits of using an engineering professional or contractor and provides recommendations for finding/choosing a qualified engineering professional or contractor that will fit the needs of the project.


February 2019

Living on the Coast: Protecting Investments in Shore Property

This booklet provides a brief description of the Great Lakes’ coastal environment as well as recommendations regarding bluff stabilization, controlling surface waters and groundwater, and building sustainable shoreline protection structures. Considerations are included to help engage professionals in implementing long-term stabilization solutions.


January 2019

USACE Month Bulletin of Great Lake Water Levels

Published monthly as a public service, this bulletin shows recorded Great Lakes lakes levels from previous and current years, a projection for the next six months, and average and extreme lake levels from 1918 to 2017. In addition to the online figures, the full monthly bulletin, available as a .pdf, provides an explanation of the Great Lakes Basin hydrology for that month.


December 2018

Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System

The Great Lake Coastal Forecasting System (GLCFS) is a set of online models that predict Great Lakes surface water conditions. 2-D and 3-D web-based maps of lake currents, temperature, wind, waves, ice, and more are available to help users better understand the effects of these conditions on Great Lakes coasts. Users can see current and future surface water conditions on each Great Lake by using the Nowcast and Forecast models.


November 2018

Wisconsin Shoreline Inventory and Oblique Photo Viewer

The Shoreline Inventory and Oblique Photo Viewer is a web-based, interactive map of Wisconsin coastal data that enables users to visualize the temporal changes to Wisconsin’s shorelines. This map is a qualitative inventory of shoreline conditions. Users can click anywhere on the shoreline to learn more about its classification.