Winter is a great time to begin planning shoreline projects

A wealth of information is available to help Michigan residents get a jump start on landscaping projects that protect the water quality of Michigan’s inland lakes.

Naturalized shorelines help protect water qualityIf you live on one of Michigan’s more than 11,000 inland lakes, winter is the perfect time to consider options to encourage healthy lake ecosystems through the implementation of alternative landscape technologies that utilize native plants at the shoreline.

With modifications continually occurring to the shoreline and shallow water areas of inland lakes, which provide essential habitat for many fish and wildlife species, increased shoreline development has resulted in the removal of native vegetation at the shoreline. This has often been replaced by highly maintained lawns down to the water’s edge, beach areas and seawalls, all of which negatively impact lake ecosystems. Taking the time now to begin putting your plan together will make it easier to get a jump start on implementing your project next spring.

One way to encourage healthy lake ecosystems is through the implementation of alternative landscaping technologies such as bio-engineered erosion control and naturalized landscape design. These practices can create a stable shoreline that is protected from waves and erosion, serve as a natural filter to prevent runoff, and provide suitable habitat for fish and wildlife.

There are a number of great sources of information on shoreline landscaping, including examples of before and after shoreline project photos, photos and detailed lists to help choose appropriate plants for your particular site conditions, and information on bio-engineered erosion control suitable for your situation:

You may plan to visit several of the publicly accessible sites around the state where shoreline projects have been installed by Michigan Certified Natural Shoreline Professionals trained through the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership. In June 2013, additional shoreline projects sites will be installed in Paw Paw, Mich.  

You can also visit the MNSP website for additional resources and news.