A spring storm on the weekend wasn’t kind to the shoreline along Saugeen Shores.Heavy rainfall and wave action caused erosion that forced the town to close two sections of the community’s shoreline trail. It also littered beaches with debris, broke off fencing and damaged dunes and dune grass.Jane Jagelewski, the town’s director of community services, said their beaches are always affected by spring storms, but higher water levels have led to unprecedented damage to the paved trail between Port Elgin and Southampton.Jagelewski said broken off posts along the beach are also something they have not experienced before, though the beach debris hasn’t been as bad this year as it was in 2017 and 2018.“This year it is almost that we are back to our normal beach clean-ups that we typically would have experienced prior to the last two years,” said Jagelewski. “But what is also alarming is how far up the wave action has carried the debris, so it is quite higher up on the beach than we have experienced before.”But Jagelewsi said that dune grasses planted over the last several years did their job and protected the town’s infrastructure, including the promenade on Port Elgin’s main beach.“We planted those dune grasses in anticipation of high water levels,” Jagelewski said. “We certainly got some calls that the dune grasses are gone, but the dune grasses did their job and they will replenish themselves.”Jagelewski said they knew high water levels would come back and the work they did in anticipation of the higher water has paid off.“We need to anticipate that these spring storms are only going to increase and we need to be prepared for those,” Jagelewski said, adding that the town has a detailed beach maintenance plan in place to ensure the beach is ready for users to enjoy each year.“We are used to spring storms. We know that they come and we anticipate them. Sometimes we have more than one. We just get nicely cleaned up and we have another one.”According to the monthly water level bulletin from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, water levels of the Lake Huron-Michigan basin were well above their average level in March. The mean for the month was 176.86 metres, which was 10 centimetres above last March’s level, and 66 centimetres above the average mean for the past 10 years. The level sits just 26 centimetres below the maximum monthly mean of 177.12 metres set in 1986. While April levels were not yet available, they were expected to continue on their seasonal rise, before they traditionally begin to drop again around July.Saugeen Shores officials are unsure of when the two damaged sections of the northshore trail will be reopened, as they will require significant work. Trail users are being asked to use caution in the areas, yield to vehicles and obey traffic laws when moving around the closed sections. One section of closed trail is on the northern edge of Port Elgin beyond Northshore Park, while the second section is further north along Miramichi Bay.Jagelewski said the wave action undermined the trails in the two areas.“They will be getting engineered and fixed as quickly as we can so our users can enjoy it for the spring and summer months,” said Jagelewski.