Subject: 2019 High Lake Levels, Indiana Dunes National Park – Trip Report
On 10 Dec 2019 a shoreline erosion inspection was conducted of Indiana Dunes National Park in
response to the National Park Service request for technical assistance under provisions of PL 84-99.
Representing the National Park Service (NPS) were Messrs. Paul Labovitz and Christopher Pergiel, At the
invitation of the NPS, representing the Town of Beverly Shores were Messrs. Geof Benson and Ed
Bracken. Representing the Corps of Engineers were Messrs. Joel Schmidt and Timothy Flaherty
(attachment 1). All parties convened at the Park Headquarters whereby the purpose of the site visit was
discussed. Mr. Labovitz presented an overview of the shoreline erosion. The sites for inspection were
selected by the NPS. Weather was clear with north winds of 20 mph creating 3 to 4 foot waves. Lake
level was 581.9 IGLD.
Each site was inspected for condition of the shoreline protection, flank and backshore erosion, risk of
wave over-topping and/or street flooding, potential adverse impact on property, infrastructure and
public safety. Discussions involved mitigation measures both long and short term.
Summary of Observations and Recommendations:
Lake Front Drive at Lake Shore Country Road: This site was selected as to a typical reach of stone
revetment that is in good condition. The toe stone is 2-4 ton with a stone slope consisting of 20-50
pound stone. The slope has maintained a uniform profile with no signs of distress. There was no
evidence of wave overtopping or back shore erosion. (Photo 1).
Revetment Breach at Lake Front Drive: A large scallop has formed due to a revetment breach and
partial loss of the revetment. The scallop is widening laterally and progressing towards Lake Front Drive,
which lies 50 feet from the head cut. (Photos 2-4). Utilities (water, gas and sewage) for Beverly Shores
lie below or adjacent to the road. If the breach is left unchecked the road and utilities maybe damaged.
As a short term measure, it is recommended sand filled super sacks or armor stone be placed into the
breach at the base of the scallop to prevent further head cutting towards Lake Front Drive. The
recommended long term measures is to fill the breach, reestablish the original profile and rebuild the
revetment to match the lines and grades of the adjacent intact revetment.
Lake Front Drive at Hutchinson Ave (Hutchinson Beach): This location is a former home site. The
concrete bulkhead is a remnant of the former structure. During recent storms it has failed allowing
severe backshore erosion to occur creating a scallop (Photo 5). Significant flank erosion is occurring on
both sides of the failed bulkhead creating scallops (Photo 6). A remnant wall perpendicular to the
shoreline is overturning (Photo 7). When this wall fails the east flank scallop will coalesce. The scallop
is progressing towards Lake Front Drive, which lies 50 feet from the head cut. Utilities (water, gas and
sewage) for Beverly Shores lie below or adjacent to the road. If Lake Front Drive fails, five houses
located on Hutchinson Ave will lose access. As a short term measure, it is recommended sand filled
super sacks or armor stone (2 to 4 Ton) be placed into the breach at the base of the scallop to prevent
further head cutting towards Lake Front Drive. The recommended long term measures is to demolish
the bulkhead remnants, fill the breach, reestablish the original profile and rebuild the revetment to
match the lines and grades of the adjacent intact revetment.
Lake View Access Point: This location is a NPS beach access point. The revetment has failed allowing
backshore erosion of the bluff and loss of a beach access staircase (Photos 8 and 9). The scallop is
widening laterally to the east and progressing southward towards a NPS parking lot and Lake Front
Drive, which lies 25 feet from the head cut. Approximately 100 feet to the east is a NPS pavilion and
comfort station. If the erosion is left unchecked the parking lot and Lake Front Drive with its underlying
and adjacent utilities could be lost. As a short term measure, it is recommended sand filled super sacks
or armor stone be placed into the breach at the base of the scallop to prevent further head cutting
towards park facilities and Lake Front Drive. (Note at this point the Town of Beverly Shores
Century of Progress Homes: These homes are on the National Register of Historic Places. There is no
shoreline protection fronting these houses. They lay below the bluff and the beach profile as a gradual
incline (Photos 10 and 11). There may be potential for structure flooding if there is additional lake rise
and a large wave event with significant wave runup. The western most house looks like it has a low
opening on the beach side. Additional analysis would be required to determine flood vulnerability.
Recommended short term protection measure are sand berms or sand bags to ring the homes.
Portage Lakefront: This location is a NPS beach access point and Park Pavilion. Severe flank erosion on
the west side of the Burns Waterway breakwater has led to the loss of two public “fishing piers” (Photos
12 and 13). The flank erosion is continuing southward and does not threaten any structures at this time
(Photo 14). Flank erosion is continuing eastward and may destroy more of the walkways and the
staircase access. The walkway to access the breakwater walkway has begun to slide lakeward
(Photo15). As a short term measure, it is recommended sand filled super sacks be placed along the toe
of the bluff to protect the walkways and staircase. Public access to the breakwater should be closed to
the public where the walkway has begun to slide. Recommendations for full scale restorations is outside
the scope of this Technical Assistance request.
At the conclusion of the site visits an out brief discussion was conducted summarizing the findings and
the above recommendations. NPS was informed USACE does not have any funding to perform shoreline
restoration. An interagency agreement would be required for the USACE to design and/or construct
shoreline restoration on a fully reimbursable basis. The NPS would like a shoreline drone flight
conducted which USACE may be able to conduct on a reimbursable basis. NPS requested USACE
prioritize the above recommended short term protection measures for their use to seek emergency
funding. The sites are prioritized as follows using best professional judgment:
Lake Front Drive at
Hutchinson Ave Breach
Impact to Critical Infrastructure
Revetment Breach at
Lake Front Drive
Impact to Critical Infrastructure
Century of Progress
Impact to Historic Structures
Lake View Access Point
Impact to Critical Infrastructure
Impact to Recreational Structures
All designs for permanent structures must be performed by a licensed engineer. A permit may be
required for work below the water level. NPS should consult with LRC’s Regulatory Branch at (312) 846-5530, firstname.lastname@example.org.