Local conservation authorities warn of bluff erosion risk

Erosion along the Lake Huron shoreline in the Municipality of Bluewater (Photo by Bob Montgomery)

The Ausable Bayfield and Maitland valley Conservation Authorities are warning of bluff erosion along the Lake Huron shoreline.

In a release, the ABCA and MVCA say that saturated soil conditions are making some bluff areas along Lake Huron prone to collapse.

“Recent rainfall and snowmelt have saturated the land and softened the clay till bluffs. This makes them more unstable. It can lead to slope failures along the shoreline and increased gully erosion,” stated the release.

The conservation authorities are jointly warning people to steer clear of the shoreline and any bluffs along Lake Huron until further notice.

The two conservation authorities say that injury or loss of life could occur if a bluff collapses and beach users are below that bluff failure.

Property owners along the Lake Huron Shoreline are encouraged to check from a safe distance for possible signs of erosion on their respective properties. Bent or leaning trees and a lack of vegetation on the slope are among the signs that your property may be in an area of erosion.

The ABCA and MVCA can provide landowners with mapping indicating the erosion risk in their area. If there is a significant crack is found to be running parallel to the shoreline, people are urged to contact the conservation authority. A crack running parallel to the shoreline is one of the signs a failure may occur.

The ABCA can be contacted at 519-235-2610 or info@abca.ca.

The MVCA can be reached by email at maitland@mvca.on.ca or by phone at 519-357-6670.

“Bluff failures are very unpredictable in terms of when they will happen or how extensive they will be,” said Geoff Cade, Water and Planning Manager at Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority. “We are encouraging people to be very careful and not get too close to the edge of the bluff.”