Training equips Michigan contractors to provide lake-friendly landscaping

Landscape and marine contractors become Certified Natural Shoreline Professionals equipped to expand services to lake property owners.

Graphic credit: K. FaasseThe Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership (MNSP) is pleased to announce that a list of Certified Natural Shoreline Professionals may now be found on the partnership’s website. Some are landscape contractors, some are marine contractors, and some are consulting engineers.

Michigan State University Extension has been educating lakefront property owners on the benefits of natural shorelines for more than a decade. (For information on a “Guide for Property Owners” please click here.) Since the formation of the MNSP in 2008, MSUE has provided educational leadership to its flagship program, Certified Natural Shoreline Professional. To date, nearly 100 contractors statewide have been trained and certified.

Development along inland lakes often involves removing vegetation to allow for the construction of buildings, roads and parking areas. Adding soil and fill allows construction in high water table areas and can increase buildable area. As a result, shoreline development is often accompanied by the removal of plants, shrubs and trees (vegetative tiers) to create lawns, foot paths, storage areas and lake views. Wetland and lake bed areas are also lost to these construction activities. Loss of native vegetation can result in the need for shoreline hardening to control erosion from waves and ice—usually in the form of vertical sea wall or rock rip rap—which can destroy shoreline and near shore habitat for many kinds of fish, birds and other animals.

Participating contractor works on natural shoreline design assignment during Certified Natural Shoreline Professional training. Photo by Jane HerbertNatural shoreline landscaping and erosion control seek to protect or enhance upland, near-shore and aquatic habitats. Approaching a shoreline project with these zones in mind is the first step to developing a design that balances lake access, views and aesthetics with shoreline stabilization and habitat restoration (see illustration).

MNSP members include state regulators, academics, industry representatives, nonprofit organization representatives and trade association personnel. Certified Natural Shoreline Professional equips professional contractors working at the water’s edge with the tools to better design, implement and maintain natural shoreline landscapes and bioengineered erosion control on Michigan inland lakes.

To receive a certificate of completion, individuals must participate in classroom instruction, attend the field training session and receive a passing grade on the certification examination. Certification is provided by the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership and must be updated every three years through continuing education. The MNSP certifies that contractors have completed the four-day training course and have successfully passed the certification exam. For more information on this training program, please click here.  

Related Events

Related Articles