A rough summer for Port beach

First high water, now mounds of debris hurled on shore by a southerly gale compromise what’s left of city’s popular south beach

RISING LAKE LEVELS already claimed much of Port Washington’s beaches, and last week Mother Nature took an additional toll on south beach as strong winds and waves pushed debris onto the sand. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Mounds of driftwood and debris pushed to shore by high winds last weekend have taken over Port Washington’s south beach, leaving it virtually impassable in places. 

There’s little sand left uncovered on the beach, which has been popular this summer as high lake levels have covered much of the north beach with water.

“Holy cow,” Port Parks, Forestry and Landscape Director Jon Crain said when he saw the beach Tuesday. “I am shocked. This is amazing. As far as I can see, it’s covered with woody debris. I haven’t seen this much stuff down here before.

“We must have had a strong wind blowing a lot of this in. It was not like this last week when I was here. The lake can change pretty quickly — this is what Mother Nature does.”

Crain said he makes it a point to check on the beach since it’s the city’s only beach right now.

“We go out there as needed (to clean the beach),” he said. “We know south beach is the only usable beach right now.

“This is going to be a project. It’s not a matter of sending a couple guys down with a couple rakes and a pick-up truck. We’ll have to bring in a loader and dump truck to get it out.”

Crain warned that it will likely take time to clear the beach since many of his seasonal workers have left to go back to school.

The parks department only has one full-time and three seasonal workers on staff right now, he said, adding that there are usually two full-time workers but one position is curently vacant.

“We’re spread pretty thin right now, but we’re going to get working on this,” Crain said, noting his crew is determined not to give up on the beach.

“By no means” will they give up, he said. “We’re going to start working on it this week. The way the water levels are, it’s going to be an ongoing project.”

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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