High lake levels and storms led to severe property damage in all these areas in 1951/52, 1954, 1955, 1958, 1969, 1972/73 and 1985/86. The damages to properties and roadways have increased greatly in conjunction with rapid cottage construction and infilling of shore areas near Long Point over the last three decades. Despite continual federal, provincial and local hazard planning initiatives, including municipal land use and planning controls, development and investment in housing has continued in areas subject to flooding and erosion. Within the Long Point area, current and future land uses are in conflict with flooding and erosion hazards at Hastings Drive (Photo 1), first tier lakeview Long Point cottages, Provincial Crown Marshes, Long Point causeway, Turkey Point and the north shore of Lake Erie (Photo 2).
Lake Erie Mean Monthly Water Levels 1915-1994
| Lake Erie Shore
|$89.2 million||$196.5 million||incomplete data|
|$3.3 million||$10.8 million||$26.3 million|
|Long Point region|| $250,000
| $1.0 million
| $10.1 million
~1 from Kreutzwiser, 1977 and 1988
~2 estimated from newspaper articles and is for the period 1954/55
~3 from Environment Canada/Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1975
~4 from the Regional Municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk ,1986
Storm surges, wind setup, and seiches can cause local increases in water levels of up to 2 metres in a few hours (IJC, 1989). Wind setup is a local rise in water level due to forced movement of the lake surface by prolonged high winds and may occur for only a few hours. A seiche is a more prolonged displacement of water which is controlled by the basin orientation and wind direction.
Wind in the Lake Erie basin is dominantly from the southwest and west. The strongest winds are associated with the passage of weather depressions. These are most frequent and intense in the spring and fall (Davidson-Arnott and Law, 1990). Persistent southwest winds can create wind setup conditions in the eastern basin of 1.0 to 1.75 m as a result of wind speeds in excess of 80 kph (Gelinas and Quigley, 1973). Moderate onshore winds in the summer can also occur due to daily heating and cooling cycles.
Wave impacts on the beach are limited from mid-December to March/April because a nearly continuous protective lake ice cover and shore ice foot normally develops on Lake Erie. This protection could diminish considerably if global warming results in significantly higher temperatures in the area, thereby reducing ice cover (Staples, 1993)
The combination of natural flooding and erosion processes with extensive land use and development, leads to continuous hazards and associated damages and impacts (Figure 3). Low-lying topography, shallow lake basins, and effects of wind set-up and seiches can cause severe flooding at the western and eastern ends of the lake.
A survey of over 8,000 shoreline dwellers suggested that 62% of all Lake Erie shoreline properties were protected and 20% had protection installed as a result of damages from high water levels in 1985-86 (IJC, 1990). The common types of structures were seawalls or revetments, used by 72% of landowners, breakwaters (43%), groynes (27%), and dykes (13%). These numbers total to more than 100% as many landowners have used more then one type of structure.
Provincial programs were developed following high water levels in 1985-86 in an attempt to reduce damages from flooding and erosion (Ontario Shoreline Management Review Committee, 1986; Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1987). Damages were to be reduced mainly by use of standard setbacks for land uses along the shore, by emergency response programs, and by preparing shoreline management plans. A 1988 study of 13 selected municipalities on Lake Erie indicated that a 34% increase had occurred in development in shoreline hazard zones. Only 6 of the municipalities had established 1:100 year flood elevations and 11 had setbacks ranging from 15 to 150 metres (Kreutzwiser, 1988). Shoreline municipalities have developed a wide range of zoning classifications to control and regulate land uses; however, large numbers of these municipalities have no defined flood or erosion areas with setbacks in their official plan or associated planning policies or guidelines. Amendments and exceptions to existing setbacks are also frequent.
Due its low-lying topography and exposure to wave action, the shoreline is highly susceptible to severe flooding and erosion (Figure 5).
Areas of concern include:
- beach erosion and flooding along the lakeside of Long Point with frequent washover and dune breaching,
-inland flooding of marsh and wetland areas in the Inner Bay and Turkey Point,
-flooding at the main beach area of Port Dover, and beach erosion and flooding in the Townships of Haldimand and Dunnville.
About 8% of the Haldimand-Norfolk shoreline was estimated as protected by some type of structure in 1975 (Environment Canada/Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1975). By 1990 this had increased to approximately 14% (Philpott Ltd., 1989). Shore protection is currently primarily focused around the major communities of Long Point, Turkey Point, Point Dover, and the Nanticoke-Featherstone shoreline.
The types of shore protection structures include: revetments, used by 40% of landowners; seawalls (45%); groynes (12%); jetties (3%); and, breakwaters (3%) (Philpott Ltd., 1989). Costs of such structures are substantial. Fraser et al. (1977) estimated average expenditures of $4,097 including some house raising and house moving costs. After the 1985/86 high water, the Ontario Shoreline Property Assistance Program (1987-88) issued 20 loans to residents in Haldimand-Norfolk, with a total expenditure of $241,800 for an average of $12,000 per property (Ecologistics Ltd., 1992).
Most of the RMHN Lake Erie shoreline, including Long Point, is designated by local municipalities as Hazard Zone with 1:100 year flood setback. This designation restricts land use types and provides setbacks for flooding and erosion to protect buildings and septic systems. Major exceptions to this policy include the Lakeshore Zone, which allows cottage and residential development at Long Point and Turkey Point, agricultural zoning along the north shore between Turkey Point and Port Dover, and industrial zoning at Nanticoke. As has been suggested by several authors (Jessen and Day, 1980; Warner, 1988) the main problem is continued new development or renovation of residential buildings at the communities of Long Point and Turkey Point. These areas are prone to frequent flooding resulting in property damage and water pollution from private septic systems.
The Long Point area consists predominantly of beach and dunes (39%) high bluffs (24%) low bluffs (17%), wetlands (16%), artificial (3%), and bedrock landforms (1%) (Geomatics Ltd., 1992). Five separate shoreline reaches can be identified: 1. the high eroding clay and sand bluffs west of the peninsula; 2. the dune and wetland complex of Long Point extending 40 kilometers into the lake; 3. the sheltered wetland and low bluff shoreline of the Inner Bay; 4. the narrow beaches and transition into low clay bluffs from Turkey Point to Port Dover.
Mean annual sediment transport to Long Point has been estimated at 62,000 to 200,000 m3/year (Philpott Ltd., 1989). Most of this sediment is deposited along the spit at the distal, or far end of the Point (Figure 7).
Current shoreline land uses in the Long Point study area are: open water (41%), wetlands/beaches (33%), residential development (13%), open space/barren land, including agricultural land (10%), savannah (2%), and forest (1%) with public ownership quite high (62% of land area). Future anticipated land use trends are an increase in rural development including cottages and marinas, and reductions in forest and marsh/wetland areas (IJC, 1993).
Development at Long Point and Turkey Point has consisted of a rapid increase in seasonal (cottages) residences over the last fifty years, with recreational amenities, roadway improvements and relatively low rural values attracting property owners (Figure 8).
The Long Point area has experienced a series of severe storm activities over the years, resulting in shoreline flooding, erosion and associated damages (Table 2). Large sections of the Inner Bay shoreline are flood prone and severe to moderate beach erosion has been identified along the entire shoreline. About 81% of the residents have experienced flood damage and 62 % experienced shoreline/beach erosion while living there (Rasid et al., 1992).
Long Point has historically been breached and separated from the mainland on numerous occasions. The low-lying topography, shallow offshore waters and exposure to wind and wave action, make the lakeside of the spit particularly vulnerable. After rapid cottage development, beginning in the 1930's and 1940's, storms in 1954 and 1955 brought extensive property damages (Table 2). During high water levels in 1972-73 damages totaled $340,820 (Environment Canada/Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1975). Fraser et al. (1977) estimated average water damage during 1972/73 storms and high water levels was $1,284. Thirty-four percent of properties had house and contents damaged.
Long Point is like other areas in the Great Lakes in that government agencies and land owners have emphasized shore protection structures in attempts to reduce the damages to property (Lawrence and Nelson, 1994). Since 1969, the percentage of shoreline length with protection structures has increased from 5 % to 36% (Lawrence, 1996). Seawalls (45% of structures) and revetments (40%) are the most common types used by property owners (Philpott, 1989). Rasid et al. (1992) note that a total of 79% of the residents had taken protection measures, with 25% raising their homes to prevent flooding and 50% installing shore protection structures. The most extensive use of shoreline protection in the area is within the community of Long Point, from Hastings Drive eastward to the Long Point Provincial Park, where structures exist at approximately 80% of shoreline properties (Lawrence, 1996).
|1883||Long Point breached by storm, pier built to maintain channel at cost of $3,000 to federal government ('Old Cut').|
|1885||Severe storm causing damage to existing pier|
|1893||Port Rowan pier built at cost of $8,413 (federal government).|
|1895||Channel closed by deposition. .|
|1901||Channel reopened by storm|
|1906||Channel again closed by storm.|
|1911-1913||Port Rowan pier reconstructed ($8,000) and St. William's wharf built ($2,511) by federal government.|
|1952||Major storm destroys many cottages on Long Point.|
|Mar 1955||Damage to cottages at Turkey Point and Long Point; ' several cottages were shattered by a pounding surf, some of them completely disappearing....wind whipped waves for 18 hours as gusts of 87 miles per hour '; 'Storm wreckage at Long Point worse then hurricane havoc '; 80 cottages damaged, 5 deaths; ' hundreds of thousands of dollars[of damages] '(HSp 24-26 March/55); 70 cottages damaged at Hastings Drive, $1,000,000? (LFP 23 March/55).|
|1958||Long Point cottages damaged by storm.|
|1969||Repairs to Hastings Drive due to flooding damage, 18 inches of water over road. (BEx 25/July/69)|
|Jan. 1971||Storm causes damage to cottages at Long Point.|
|1973||William Knowles (MP-Haldimand-Norfolk) suggested that the federal government should subsidize cottage owners near Long Point, many of them Americans, to help them move their homes away from Lake Erie...900 cottages at cost of $12,000 each...50 in 'imminent danger' (LFP 11-13/Mar/73), shore protection built along Highway 59 causeway at cost of $177,253 (100% provincial funding).|
|Apr. 1973||20 acres of Long Point Provincial Park under 1 foot of water (KWR 19/Apr./73).|
|1973-1974||Township roads protected with stone ($118,000) 80% provincial funding.|
|Nov. 1975||Storm resulting in 4 foot lake level rise, flooding and beach erosion at Port Dover, Turkey Point, Port Maitland, and Long Point. '200 cottages flooded at Turkey Point' (LFP 11/Nov./75).' $200,000 damage at Long Point...two cottages destroyed..20..3 removed from Hastings Drive...' 2nd storm in two weeks to cause extensive damage along Hastings Drive once considered one of the safest places for cottages'...province several years ago put in wood pilings ....owners added gabions ' (BEx 11/Nov./75). ' within 1/2 hour of evening water rose 8 feet, flooding 2 feet over causeway'.. damage at Turkey Point, Haldimand, Long Point Company...$500,000 damage (BEx 12/Nov./75).|
|1978||Installation of a series of eight timber groynes at tip of Long Point to protection lighthouse and keepers cottage. Beach erosion continued at the site leading to destruction of the groynes in 1983.r|
|1985||Lighthouse keepers house removed due to shore storm induced flooding and beach erosion.|
|April 1985||Severe damage to cottages along Hastings Drive due to wind and waves. Flooding across the roadway. Several cottages completely destroyed.|
|Dec 1985||40 cottages destroyed at Long Point (KWR 12/Sept./86); 16 cottages destroyed along Hastings Drive (HSp 21/Nov./86); 50 properties at Long Point abandoned since storm, taxes reduced by an average $300 each for 60 homes and cottages at Long Point (TS 9/Mar/87).|
|Jan. 1987||Long Point Company plans construction of 2 1/2 mile long dike to run parallel to Lake Erie shoreline on southern end of property. Intention is to provide protection of marsh nesting grounds from flooding and overwash sediment occurring from recent storm activity. Located 600 feet from the waters edge, seven feet high using sediments dredged from marshes. Estimated cost of $250,000.|
|Jun 1987||Long Point cottage owners win $30,000 insurance judgement as wind not wind-driven water knocked cottage off foundation (HSp 1/June/87)|
|Farm with Residence||12.5||12.8||12.9||13.5||6||4.8|
|more than one residence||12||12||12||12||0||0|
|with commercial residence||54||56||57||59||5||9.3|
|mobile home park||1||1||1||1||0||0|
|not on water||2||2||2||2||0||0|
Governments should consider strategies to provide economic and other incentives to reduce damages from shoreline flooding and erosion hazards. Low interest loans and grants could be provided in appropriate risk areas to promote non-structural attempts at shore protection including dune and beach nourishment, dune vegetation planting, and relocation. Programs should be developed to consider alternative uses of areas impacted by severe flooding and erosion, for example, Hastings Drive. The result would be a decrease in long term damages and costs especially if further development was guided to low risk sites.
Davidson-Arnott, R.G.D. and Law, M.N. 1990. "Seasonal Patterns and Controls on Sediment Supply to Coastal Foredunes, Long Point, Lake Erie" In (Nordstrom, K.F., Psuty, N.P. and Carter, R.W.G. eds). Coastal Dunes: Form and Process John Wiley, New York: 177-200.
Ecologistics Ltd. 1992. Private and Public Shore Protection Expenditures Along the Canadian Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Shoreline, 1985-1987 Report prepared for International Joint Commission Levels Reference Study Working Committee 2, Windsor, Ontario.
Environment Canada/Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1975. Canada/Ontario Great Lakes Shore Damage Survey - Technical Report Government of Ontario Printer, Toronto, Ontario.
Fraser, J.A., Day, J.C, Kreutzwiser, R.D. and Turkheim, R.J. 1977. "Residents' Utilization of Coastal Hazard Assistance Programs in the Long Point Area, Lake Erie" Canadian Water Resources Journal 2(2): 37-50.
Gelinas, P.J. and Quigley, R.M. 1973. "The Influence of Geology on Erosion Rates Along the North Shore of Lake Erie " In Proceedings of the 16th Conference on Great Lakes Research, Ann Arbor, Michigan: 421-430.
Geomatics Ltd. 1992. Great Lakes Shoreline Classification and Mapping Study: Canadian Side Final Report for International Joint Commission Levels Reference Study, Windsor, Ontario.
Great Lakes Basin Commission. 1976. Great Lakes Basin Framework Study Ann Arbor, Michigan.
International Joint Commission (IJC). 1989. Living with the Lakes: Challenges and Opportunities A Progress Report submitted by the Project Management Team, Water Levels Reference Study Phase I, Windsor, Ontario.
International Joint Commission (IJC). 1990. Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Shoreline Riparian Survey: Preliminary Results Report of Working Committee 2 Levels Reference Study Board, Burlington, Ontario.
International Joint Commission (IJC). 1993. Land Use and Management -Draft Final Report of Working Committee 2. Levels Reference Study Board, Burlington, Ontario.
Jessen, S. and Day, J.C. 1980. "Regulating Great Lakes Flood and Erosion Hazards: The Haldimand-Norfolk experience, Lake Erie, Ontario" In (Sewell, W.R.D. and Barker, M.L. eds). Water Problems and Policies Department of Geography, University of Victoria, British Columbia: 13-24.
Jessen, S., Day, J.C. and Nelson, J.G. 1983. "Assessing Land-use Regulations in Coastal Wetlands: The Case of the Long Point Area, Lake Erie, Ontario" Coastal Zone Management Journal 11(1-2): 91-115.
Kreutzwiser, R.D. 1977. An Evaluation of Lake Erie Shoreline Flood and Erosion Hazard Policy Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Geology, University of Western, London, Ontario.
Kreutzwiser, R.D. 1988. "Municipal Land Use Regulation and the Great Lakes Shoreline Hazard in Ontario" Journal of Great Lakes Research. 14(2): 142-147.
Lawrence, P.L. 1996. Great Lakes Shoreline Flooding and Erosion Hazards: Towards a Strategy for Decision-making in Ontario Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Geography, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario.
Lawrence, P.L. and Nelson, J.G. 1994. Shoreline Flooding and Erosion Hazards in the Long Point Area Long Point Environmental Folio Series. (Nelson, J.G. and Lawrence, P.L. eds). Working Paper 7. Heritage Resources Centre, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario.
Lawrence, P.L. and Nelson, J.G. (eds). 1994. Managing the Great Lakes Shoreline: Experiences and Opportunities Occasional Paper 21. Proceedings of a Workshop held at the University of Waterloo, October 22-23 1992. Heritage Resources Centre, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario.
Needham, R.D. and Nelson, J.G. 1978. "Adjustment to Change in Coastal Environments: The Case of Fluctuating Lake Erie Water Levels" In Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Conference of the Coastal Society, Coping with the Coast: 196-213.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 1987. Guidelines for Developing Great Lakes Shoreline Management Plans Report to the Ontario Conservation Authorities, Toronto, Ontario.
Ontario Shoreline Management Review Committee. 1986. Report of the Shoreline Review Committee to the Ministers of Natural Resources and Municipal Affairs. Province of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario.
Philpott Ltd. 1989. Shoreline Management Plan Long Point Region Conservation Authority, Simcoe, Ontario.
Rasid, H., Baker, D. and Kreutzwiser, R.D. 1992. "Coping with Great Lakes Flood and Erosion Hazards: Long Point Lake Erie vs. Minnesota Point, Lake Superior" Journal of Great Lakes Research 18(1): 29-42.
Regional Municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk (RMHN). 1986. Haldimand-Norfolk Lakeshore Damage Survey: Summary of December 2, 1985 Damage Survey Conducted by the Economic Development Department of the Region of Haldimand-Norfolk. Townsend, Ontario
Rukavina, N.A. and Zeman, A.J. 1987. "Erosion and Sedimentation Along a Cohesive Shoreline-The North-Central Shore of Lake Erie" Journal of Great Lakes Research 13(2): 202-217.
Staples, T. 1993. Climate Change and Long Point Bay: A Preliminary Analysis with Some Implications Long Point Environmental Folio Series. (Nelson, J.G. and Lawrence, P.L. eds). Working Paper 2. Heritage Resources Centre, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario.
Stenson, R. 1993. The Long Point Area: An Abiotic Perspective Long Point Environmental Folio Publication Series. (Nelson, J.G. and Lawrence, P.L. eds). Technical Paper 2 Heritage Resources Centre, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario.
Warner, W.R. 1988. A Study of Shoreline Planning in Ontario: The Region of Haldimand-Norfolk Undergraduate Thesis, Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario.
Yee, P. and Cuthbert, D. 1985. A Report on the 1985 Record High Water Levels of the Great Lakes Inland Waters Directorate, Environment Canada Report, Burlington, Ontario.