ST. JOSEPH — St. Joseph’s Below-the-Bluff Neighborhood Association has scheduled an informational shoreline protection meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 20, that’s open to the public at the St. Joseph City Commission Chambers, on the second floor of the city building at 700 Broad St.

The meeting includes southwest Berrien County Commissioner Ezra Scott, who’s been active in efforts to protect the Lake Michigan shoreline in the New Buffalo area. Scott will address shoreline protection challenges and potential solutions, as well as discuss how local people in that area are working to garner the cooperation of public officials, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Scott will share what’s been learned, strategies that are underway and where potential help can be found. New Buffalo is planning for an extensive offshore rock wall to help break up waves that have decimated beaches in the area. Scott has been assisting the New Buffalo Shoreline Alliance in seeking federal assistance for their shoreline protection efforts.

Scott is the Berrien County commissioner from District 9, which includes the city of New Buffalo, the townships of New Buffalo, Chikaming, Galien, Three Oaks and Weesaw, and the villages of Galien, Grand Beach, Michiana and Three Oaks.

“Erosion in the St. Joseph area is also a big deal,” said Jack Sanderson, chairman of the Below-the-Bluff Neighborhood Association. “The beaches – our primary tourist attractions – are at risk. Silver Beach County Park’s beach is perhaps half the size it was just a few years ago and Lake Michigan is only accessible in about a quarter of Lions Park beach’s water front. Tiscornia Park’s beach and Jean Klock Park are also experiencing the effects of the lake’s high water.”

He said the Below-the-Bluff Neighborhood Association is hosting the session because the problem affects the entire area.