Shoreline Stabilization

The Park District has completed shoreline stabilization measures at Lloyd Beach and is in the process of developing a solution for Elder / Centennial Beaches.

Elder/Centennial Beaches

Design and engineering work for the new breakwater system at both beaches is ongoing. Staff anticipates finalizing the designs and applying for a permit in the summer/fall of 2021.

Lloyd Beach

From 2020 to 2021, the Park District completed a large-scale shoreline stabilization project at Lloyd Beach to protect it from ongoing damage. 

  • New breakwater system
  • Beach replenishment
  • New boardwalk extending from the beach house to the parking lot
  • South beach access ramp improvements
  • Fenced-in motorized boat storage renovations
  • New / relocated non-motorized boat racks on the south beach 
  • Boat launch repaving


Altogether, this project cost approximately $5.1M and was paid for using a mix of revenues, reserves, and alternative revenue bonds.

Progress Updates

July 21, 2020

Construction officially kicked off last week for the new breakwater system at Lloyd Beach! So far, 2,500 tons of materials have been delivered and contractors have begun building the foundation for the breakwaters. Check out the video above to see the progress. Over the next several months, 20,000 more tons of rock and sand will be delivered to build the new breakwaters and reinstall the beach. Construction is expected to wrap up by the end of the year. View timelapse video.

August 5, 2020

The south breakwater is starting to form. Construction materials continue to arrive daily via truck and barge. So far the barge has delivered a few thousand tons of armor stone, reducing the number of semi-truckloads driven through the community. Check out the video to see the progression since our last update! View timelapse video.

August 28, 2020

The south breakwater continues to take shape and the breakwater on the north end is almost complete. Check out the video to see the progress since our last update! View timelapse video.

September 18, 2020

The north breakwater is complete and contractors have started on the middle breakwater island. To build the island, they’ve had to make a temporary road from the shoreline to the breakwater. This road will be deconstructed once the island is complete. In the past two weeks, more than 8,000 tons of sand have been delivered to rebuild the beach — there’s actually a beach now! Check out the video to see the progress since our last update. View timelapse video.

September 29, 2020

The contractors have made significant progress on the middle and south breakwaters and continue to deliver sand daily to build up the beach. We are on schedule to complete work by the end of the year and can’t wait to see you for a great 2021 season! This week’s video is a drone flyover of the beach. View the flyover video.

Progress as of August 27, 2020.
Progress one month later on September 29, 2020.

October 23, 2020

The breakwater project is nearing 90 percent completion, with work just remaining on the south breakwater arm. This week’s video shows you the view from the beach so you can get an idea of how tall the structures are. View the video.

November 30, 2020

The breakwaters structures are 100 percent complete. The contractor will remain on-site for the next few months to dredge, regrade the beach, etc. All work will be complete by the 2021 boating season.

August 2019
October 2020

April 1, 2021

The new breakwaters did an awesome job protecting Lloyd through the winter. The beach is in great shape and very little sand was lost. Contractors remain on-site, currently building the new boardwalk and access ramp. Bluff and pavement work will start in April, followed by the installation of boat storage racks south of the beach house. All work is expected to wrap up by May 15. View the flyover video.

Need for Shoreline Protection

Lakebed Erosion and High Water Levels

Throughout history, Lake Michigan’s water levels follow a pattern of rising and falling. These fluctuations combined with increased wave action cause the shoreline to slowly erode. At Lloyd, this process has been especially detrimental due to lakebed downcutting — the erosion of the cohesive clay material that makes up the lakebed. Unlike sand, this material can’t be replenished and its loss is permanent. As it erodes, the lakebed profile becomes steeper and the water near the shoreline becomes deeper. Deeper water near the shoreline causes waves to be larger and the shoreline to erode at a faster rate.

High waves that continuously impact Lloyd due to lakebed erosion and record high water levels

Shoreline Erosion

High waves near shore and record high water levels have caused irreversible damage to Lloyd’s shoreline. In the past 15 years, more than 20 feet of bluff has been lost along the south shoreline. In the past three years, severe bluff erosion has caused more than ten trees to fall.

South end of bluff summer 2019 (visible erosion approximately 8 feet high)

Extensive bluff erosion has caused tree loss along south end

Along Lloyd’s north shoreline, high waves and high water levels have caused beach erosion.

Winter 2019

Winter 2019

Loss of Useable Beach

Since 2005, rising water levels have caused loss of a useable beach and non-motorized boat storage on the south end. In the summer of 2019, record high water levels were reached.

Summer 2005

Summer 2019


Damage to Structures

In the fall of 2019, the damage to the beach and bluff has been exacerbated due to record lake levels and several severe storms. This has caused damage to the boardwalk along the north end and the boat racks located on the south and north ends.

Winter 2019

Winter 2019

How Breakwaters Work

Breakwaters work in several ways:

  • Breaking or intercepting the waves to dissipate wave energy before reaching the shoreline, which decreases erosion and makes the beach safer
  • Creating a basin that keeps sand in so a usable beach is maintained during high and low water levels

Breakwaters are made of piles of stone in the lake. During average lake levels, approximately five feet of stone will be visible above the lake’s surface. This is high enough to protect the beach during periods of high waves but low enough that the view of the horizon from the beach will not be impeded.

The breakwater system at Lloyd includes a structure at the south end, in the middle and at the north end. A portion of the south end breakwater will start on the beach. It will include built-in stairs allowing patrons to easily traverse it while walking along the beach.

Conceptual rendering of new breakwater system approved by the Park Board in 2019

A 140 foot to 150 foot gap will exist between the breakwaters, ample space for motorized and non-motorized boaters to safely pass through.

Together the breakwater structures will effectively reduce the wave action near the shoreline to protect the beach and bluff from erosion, protect the boathouse, and make the water safer for patrons. Over time, the beach will begin to build up sand allowing us to maintain a usable sandy beach during periods of low and high lake levels.

Future Improvements

Pier Improvements

To give additional protection to the beach and boat launch, the existing pier deck height will be raised and a stone revetment added to the east side of the structure. The pier will also be extended to give more queuing space for motorized boats.

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