According to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the water level in the Great Lakes is 22 inches below its long term average. They cite recent causes as the mild winters of 2011 and 2012 in which the snowfall was not sufficient to raise the water level as it usually does. Dredging to make the shipping lanes deep enough for the merchant ships is another cause, not just in the lakes themselves but also in rivers feeding into the Great Lakes.
So, specifically what affect has the water level had on Door County’s shoreline? Overall, it has made the distance from the ordinary high water mark* to the actual water line a much greater distance which can be both good and bad for the shorefront property owner. In some cases it has given them great beaches — either sand, rocks, or shelf rock — when they didn’t have one when the water was higher. In other cases it has cause the water line to be so far away that it is just a sparkle inthe far distance. The latter is usually in bays where the water is very shallow for some distance out into the lake. In the worst cases, it has turned waterfront property into waterview property for all practical purposes.
Has the low water level affected property values? Again, that depends on the individual property, but for the most part it has not. Door County shorefront property is still what most people coming to Door County dream of owning, whether it be on the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula or the Green Bay side.