Indiana Supreme Court Efforts to Protect Lake Michigan Shoreline
Efforts to protect Lake Michigan and it’s critical shoreline habitat received a big boost from the Indiana Supreme Court earlier this month. A unanimous decision by the Court on a beach access case focused on defining whether the lake’s shoreline is in the public trust or private control. The Court’s decision is the most expansive state affirmation of the public trust doctrine along the Great Lakes shoreline, firmly putting the state’s Lake Michigan shorelands into public, not private, ownership. The case boosts protection efforts for vital shoreline habitat areas, which serve as a buffer zone between the lake and the upland, reducing pollution flowing into the lake while providing vital habitat for fish and wildlife. Additionally, the case reinforces the right of people to have continuous access along the lakefront, whether to go for a walk to admire the lake or to observe and monitor the area to ensure the public waters of the Great Lakes are protected.
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