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ESA met on October 30 and had guests from the mainland.  Meagan Anderson director of the Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet County Office of Emergency Management was there along with Lieutenant Michael DeCastro from the Michigan State Police.  He’s their District 7 Emergency Management and Homeland Security Coordinator.  They were there to conduct a periodic review of their emergency response plans with the E-S-A, but the discussion quickly turned to the current emergency of high water and the damage it is causing on the  Island, especially on the east side.  E-S-A board member Bob Turner brought up the question of the impact of another foot of lake level rise on ferry operations.  “It’s our lifeline to the mainland,” he said. St. James Supervisor and ESA board member Kitty McNamara point out that the dock surface could be awash by next year if the forecasts prove accurate.  Anderson said this was something that her team could help address, but only after it was shown that local resources were exhausted.  She suggested a follow up meeting to review the situation.  Also raise was the question of assistance for private home owners.  Unfortunately, the discussion revealed no opportunity for local, state or federal assistance in actual response to those issues—but Anderson noted that the state and Army corps had accelerated the permit approval process for projects dealing with shore erosion—it’s now days to weeks instead of almost 2 years. And she said they are working on a public information meeting with the Army Corps for early next spring to discuss the permitting and related processes.

This report first appeared on the WVBI Community Calendar. Listen weekdays at 9:00 a.m., Noon, 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. or catch the podcast at wvbi.biccenter.org/podcasts.