One of the key findings of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies’ 2010 National Lakes Assessment was that lakes with poor shoreline habitat are three times as likely to be in poor overall biological condition than lakes with good quality shorelines. By preserving the shoreline, landowners are also protecting the value of their property as disrupted shorelines are negatively correlated with water clarity, which is an intrinsic indicator of the value of a lakefront property. Additionally, shorelines provide crucial habitat, food, and protection for fish and other aquatic inhabitants. Through stewardship of the shoreline, you can impact the overall quality of a lake.
Impervious surfaces can increase the amount of water runoff into the lake. They negatively impact the water quality by accelerating erosion, increasing algae growth and lowering populations of aquatic species.
- Know your local shoreline zoning regulations
- Consider the impact of rooftops and driveways
- Moderate the effects of existing hard surfaces
- Consider permeable pavers
- Read this blog post on the connection between impervious surfaces and lakes
- Watch this video on the effects of impervious surfaces
Buffer strips are a zone of native vegetation between the lake and the lawn that protect water clarity. By filtering water before it reaches the lake and helping to hold soil in place, buffers contribute a great deal to the lake ecosystem.
- Keep a good portion of natural vegetation and stones
- Lay out a shoreline buffer strip of at least 35 to 50 feet
- Learn about maintaining a shoreline garden
- Read this blog post on the rise of near shore development
- Watch these videos on riparian buffer strips and aquatic protection, the purpose of buffer zones, and how to plant a vegetative buffer strip.
Aquatic plants provide an important habitat for fish and amphibians and their root structure helps stabilize of sediment. Moreover, they absorb nutrients that create algae booms such as phosphorous.
- Preserve aquatic plants
- Contact your local aquatic plant management coordinator with any questions
- Consider the positive impacts of aquatic plants
- Watch these videos on management of aquatic plants and the role of aquatic plants in lakes
Decrease wake from boats
Strong boat wakes can damage aquatic habitat by the shoreline as well as erode it. Minimizing the amount of wake produced while boating can help to slow erosion.
- When buying a new boat, consider one with an m-hull
- Slow down to decrease the wake
- Adhere to a speed limit of 6.2 miles/hr
- Learn at what speed your boat may produce the least wake
Learn more about shoreline protection:
Maintaining a healthy shoreline habitat starts with shoreland erosion control.