One of the key findings of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 National Lakes Assessment was that lakes with poor shoreline health 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. Disrupted shorelines correlate to poor 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
- How impervious surfaces impact waterways
- Video on the effects of impervious surfaces
- Consider permeable pavers
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.
- Lay out a shoreline buffer strip of at least 35 to 50 feet
- Learn about maintaining a shoreline garden
- Read this guide to help you restore your shoreline
- Videos about 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, amphibians, and other wildlife, and their root structure helps stabilize sediment. They also absorb nutrients that create cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms, 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 along the shoreline, and can erode beaches and lakefront property. Minimizing the wake produced while boating can help to slow erosion.
Learn more about shoreline protection:
Maintaining a healthy shoreline habitat starts with shoreline erosion control.
- The three types of reactive shoreline control: vegetative, manipulative and structural
- Dane County’s Water Resource Engineering Division’s information on erosion control.
Nurseries and contractors in southern Wisconsin
|Contractor||Location (WI)||Native Plant Nursery Services||Shoreline Restoration Services||Rain Garden Services|
|Aspen Garden & Landscape||Madison||✔||✔|
|Bee Balm Wildscapes*||Madison||*Native garden design and planning|
|Blue Iris Landscaping||Madison||✔|
|Daniels General Contractors||Madison||✔|
|Dixon Shoreline Landscaping||Portage||✔|
|Good Oak LLC||Madison||✔||✔|
|Meister’s K&M Tree and Landscaping Inc.||Lodi||✔|
|Minnesota Native Landscapes||Online Only||✔|
|Tallgrass Restoration LLC||Milton||✔|
|UW-Arboretum Native Plant Sale||Madison||✔|