Executive Residence begins shoreline restoration

Executive Residence 2022 - prior to restoration

Clean Lakes Alliance is proud to partner with the Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation, along with other local organizations, to fund and implement a lakeshore restoration along 294 feet of Lake Mendota shoreline. Located at the iconic Executive Residence, the project will replace 7,184 square feet of existing turf with 32 species of native plants, wildflowers, grasses, and shrubs. In all, a total of 3,177 native plants will be added to the shoreline area!

Executive Residence landscape plan
Executive Residence landscape plan showing the locations of the native plant gardens

Importance of a native shoreland

Native shoreland plants provide a variety of ecosystem services, including reducing and filtering nutrient and sediment runoff, expanding pollinator habitat area, and preventing erosion, all of which support shoreline-dependent aquatic life and aid in enhancing the quality and beauty of our lakes. This project hopes to set an example for waterfront property owners across the state on how to be conscious caretakers of our lakes, rivers, and streams through shoreline-improvement activities and community engagement.

Executive Residence 2022 - prior to restoration
Executive Residence shoreland as seen from Lake Mendota, prior to restoration (summer 2022)

Clean Lakes Alliance’s involvement

Clean Lakes Alliance is committed to funding and fostering programs that improve the water quality of the lakes, streams, and wetlands of the Yahara River Watershed. The ways in which we manage our shorelines are critical elements of maintaining and improving lake health. This shoreline restoration project at the Executive Residence falls within the scope of action recommendations released as part of Renew the Blue: A Community Guide for Cleaner Lakes & Beaches in the Yahara Watershed.

This project also fulfills one of our “Top 10 ways to help the lakes at home”, which lists “planting native and diverse vegetation” as one of the best ways to reduce soil erosion and nutrient runoff, as well as increase pollinator habitat area. We hope that this shoreline restoration project on such a well known lakeshore property will inspire not only waterfront property owners on the Madison-area lakes, but those in all other parts of the state to engage in practices that promote aquatic ecosystem health.

Native Plants
Native Plants have longer root structures and can better infiltrate stormwater

Native shoreline timeline

Two phases of the Executive Residence Native Shoreline Restoration Project will occur before completion. Phase I will begin in September 2022, and Phase II will be complete in the fall of 2023. Phase I will aim to plant 1,776 native plants on 3,067 square feet of shoreline, and Phase II will add an additional 1,401 plants on 4,117 square feet. The current fundraising goal for this project is $40,000. The money raised toward this goal will pay for site preparation, native plants, plant installation, educational signage, and other supplies and materials. Clean Lakes Alliance is matching every dollar donated up to $5,000. 

Support the effort

There are many ways that you can support this effort. The Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation (WERF) is hosting a Native Shoreline Restoration Event Fundraiser at the Executive Residence on Monday, August 8, 2022, from 5:30 to 7:00pm. Entry tickets for this event are $75.00. Individual donations will be accepted at this event or can be made online at wisconsinexecutiveresidence.com under the Shoreline Restoration tab. To pay by check, please make payable to to “WERF” and send to 99 Cambridge Road, Madison, WI, 53704 (indicate “shoreland project” on check memo or letter).

Volunteers are also needed for Phase I site planting and maintenance efforts. This planting day will take place on Saturday, September 24, 2022, at the Executive Residence. To volunteer, sign up here. If you have questions, please email info@rockrivercoalition.org.

Native Plants
Native plants provide many benefits – they help absorb water and nutrients, and offer critical habitat and food sources for bees, butterflies, songbirds, and shoreline-dependent aquatic life

Funding available for shoreline restoration

Often, there are local and state resources that can help fund initiatives like the Executive Residence Native Shoreline Restoration Project. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources offers a Healthy Lakes and Rivers grant program (a subprogram of the larger Surface Water Grant) that focuses specifically on shoreline landowners that want to implement and install practices on their property to improve habitat and water quality.

These grants support 5 simple and inexpensive “best practices” for landowners to install: fish sticks, 350 ft2 native plantings, diversion, rock infiltration, and rain gardens. These best practices prevent erosion, reduce and filter runoff, and improve habitat and natural beauty on shoreline properties – all the same goals as the shoreline restoration project at the Executive Residence. Programs like this one make conservation and restoration projects more accessible, and create opportunities for individual landowners and stewards to engage in practices that better our lakes, rivers, and streams throughout Wisconsin. For more information on grant eligibility and the application process, visit healthylakeswi.com, or visit the DNR’s Surface Water Grants webpage.

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