State of the Beach/State Reports/IN/Beach Fill

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Indiana Ratings
Indicator Type Information Status
Beach Access65
Water Quality74
Beach Erosion5-
Erosion Response-4
Beach Fill5-
Shoreline Structures3 3
Beach Ecology2-
Surfing Areas25
Coastal Development{{{19}}}{{{20}}}
Sea Level Rise{{{21}}}{{{22}}}


The discussion Beach Nourishment provides a general primer on this topic and also states:

Beach nourishment activities are encouraged through state statute. The "Sand Nourishment Fund" provides a mechanism to protect and increase sand in Indiana along Lake Michigan. Coastal communities can obtain funds through their local state legislators which can then be used for (1) the deposit of sand along the coast of Lake Michigan in Indiana; (2) the design and establishment of systems that cause sand to be deposited along the coast of Lake Michigan in Indiana; and (3) the prevention or reduction of the degradation of sand along the coast of Lake Michigan in Indiana. Unfortunately, the Sand Nourishment Fund currently has no regular source of revenue.

Under another state statute, the DNR may impose a royalty fee for the removal of materials dredged from the bed of Lake Michigan. As an incentive, the NRC has by rule waived the royalty if the person authorized to dredge agrees to place any suitable dredge materials along the Lake Michigan shoreline as beach nourishment for the beneficial use of the general public.

Recently, the NRC adopted a rule to establish a general authorization (sometimes called a "statewide permit") for beach nourishment from sources landward of Lake Michigan. A person who qualifies for the general authorization may place sand for beach nourishment, either within or outside the ordinary high watermark, without obtaining a permit under the Navigable Waterways Act. Instead, a letter is provided to the agency by the person wishing to use the general authorization. In the letter, the person provides information concerning the site of origin, the site of deposit, and other pertinent information such as testing performed on the sand. Unless the DNR responds within 14 days to require full permitting or to impose conditions on the terms of the deposit, the general authorization is "deemed to have been approved and the person may proceed."

The Website of the Great Lakes Commission has a substantial amount of information on the beneficial use of dredged materials and related subjects.


Beach Nourishment at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

The report Summary of Beach Nourishment Activity Along the Great Lakes' Shoreline 1955-1996 lists 13 beach nourishment projects along Indiana's Lake Michigan shoreline between 1974 and 1996. These projects were in Burns State Beach Harbor, Mt. Baldy, Ogden Dunes and Michigan City. The report lists beach location, date, funding type, volume, length, and cost for each project.

Mt. Baldy, Ogden Dunes and Beverley Shores all rely upon beach nourishment to maintain a shoreline with beaches and offshore sand bars.

Nourishment sand is regularly provided by the dredging efforts of the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO). NIPSCO must dredge to keep its water intake at the Bailly Plant from being clogged by sand trapped updrift of the Burns International Harbor Complex. Seventy-five percent of the dredged sand is "by-passed" to Ogden Dunes and deposited on the outer sand bar . The other 25% is "back-passed" to Beverly Shores.

Four designed beach nourishment projects have been conducted in Indiana by the federal government. In 1974, 227,00 cubic yards of sand was placed in front of Mount Baldy. The second beach nourishment in 1981 was at the same Mount Baldy location using 80,000 cubic yards (120,000 tons) of sand. By spring 1984, all the sand that had been placed on the beach was gone, and the waves were again breaking on the base of the dune.

Two additional nourishment activities were started at Crescent Dune near Mount Baldy in 1996. One source of the nourishment was hydraulic maintenance dredging of the Michigan City Harbor. The other was mitigation for downdrift erosion from the Michigan City Harbor breakwater constructed by the federal government in 1836.

The Michigan City Harbor channel was dredged between June and July of 1996. Ten-thousand cubic yards of the material were deposited offshore in a previously used lake-bottom disposal site for contaminated dredge material approximately 1.25 miles north northwest of the Michigan City Lighthouse. Forty-five thousand cubic yards of the Trail Creek dredge material was pumped to the Mount Baldy beach area of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, west of Michigan City.

The Crescent Dune area east of Mount Baldy received about 53,000 cubic yards of sand as mitigation for the littoral drift losses associated with the Michigan City Harbor structures. The Corps approved a local quarry as the source of sand to be used by the contractor. The beach nourishment activity began in mid July and lasted through November 1996. Additional sand was trucked to the site in 1997 and again in 1998. The long-term plan is that beach nourishment activities, resulting in the placement of up to 230,000 cubic yards of sand, will continue at five to six year intervals for the next 50 years.

Beach Nourishment at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Final approval was given in October 2014 for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Shoreline Restoration and Management Plan. The plan in question is noteworthy because one of its original preferred recommendations was the construction of a “cobble berm” under 10 feet of water off Crescent Dune east of Mt. Baldy. That recommendation was abandoned, however, after the National Park Service (NPS) “received substantial comment from the public” objecting to the berm. Instead, a program of beach nourishment incorporating natural small stones mixed with sand at the shoreline will take the place of the berm. NPS heeded public comment about the plan’s original preferred recommendations in one other way: by increasing the proposed frequency of beach nourishment along the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk site and at West Beach to every year, instead of every five years.

The Fiscal Year 2017 Civil Works Budget for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides $4.62 billion in gross discretionary funding for the Civil Works program. This budget lists proposed projects and the associated budget justification by state.

State, Territory, and Commonwealth Beach Nourishment Programs: A National Overview (2000) is a report NOAA/OCRM that provides an overview of the problem of beach erosion, various means of addressing this problem, and discusses issues regarding the use of beach nourishment. Section 2 of the report provides an overview of state, territorial, and commonwealth coastal management policies regarding beach nourishment and attendant funding programs. Appendix B provides individual summaries of 33 beach nourishment programs and policies.

State of the Beach Report: Indiana
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