top of page

The Importance of a Natural Shoreline

It has long been recognized that logs, sticks, and other woody structure in rivers provide habitat for a variety of aquatic insects. These insects are the foundation of the food chain and are essential to sustaining a healthy fishery. Recent research indicates that the same holds true for lakes. Several recent studies have examined the impact of shoreline development on lakes. The conclusion of these studies is that excessive development of shorelines and loss of shoreline vegetation are adversely impacting the quality of our lakes. For a lake property owner, these are extremely important findings and underscore the need to properly manage lakefront property.

Coconut Fiber Roll w text.jpg

The take-home message here is straightforward: Maintain or restore as much natural shoreland as possible. That is not to say that you can’t—or shouldn’t—have an area to swim, moor boats, fish or lounge by the shore. However, manicured lawn to the water’s edge and boundless seawalls are not conducive to a healthy lake. Natural shorelines are easier to maintain and provide many ecological benefits. Preserving or restoring natural shoreline is one of the most important things lake residents can do to protect Long Lake.

Developed Shoreline_medium.jpg

Caring for Your Shoreland

Caring for Your Shoreland and Failure_me

In the first-ever nationwide assessment of lakes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency evaluated several stressors of lakes. Of the factors evaluated, lack of shoreline vegetation was the biggest problem facing the nation’s lakes. Lakes with poor shoreline habitat were three times more likely to be in poor biological condition (U.S. EPA 2010).

National Lake Assessment_Cover_TOC_2011_

Click here or the image below to get your own copy of The Water's Edge: Helping Fish and Wildlife on Your Lakeshore Property. The twelve-page booklet is loaded with information on how to protect the lake.

The Waters Edge MDNRE.tif

10 Ways to Protect Long Lake

  1. Don’t use lawn fertilizer that contains phosphorus—it's the law!

  2. Use the minimum amount of fertilizer recommended on the label — more is not necessarily better!

  3. Water the lawn sparingly to avoid washing nutrients and sediments into the lake.

  4. Don’t feed ducks and geese near the lake. Waterfowl droppings are high in nutrients and may cause swimmer’s itch.

  5. Don’t burn leaves and grass clippings near the shoreline.  Nutrients concentrate in the ash and can easily wash into the lake.

  6. Don’t mow to the water’s edge. Instead, allow a strip of natural vegetation (i.e., a greenbelt) to become established along your waterfront. A greenbelt will trap pollutants and discourage nuisance geese from frequenting your property.

  7. Where possible, promote infiltration of stormwater into the ground. Build a rain garden to capture runoff from driveways and downspouts.

  8. Don’t dump anything in area wetlands. Wetlands are natural purifiers.

  9. If you have a septic system, have your septic tank pumped every 2 to 3 years.

  10. Don’t be complacent — your collective actions will make or break the lake!

bottom of page