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Lake-Friendly Lakeshores

Lake-friendly lakeshores have a wide strip — at last 15 to 25 feet — of trees, bushes, tall grasses, wildflowers and other native plants to slow down and filter rainwater draining to the lake. These filter strips offer several advantages:

  • Plants absorb phosphorus and other nutrients that harm a lake
  • Trees use vast amounts of water, reducing the impact to the lake
  • Trees and other deep-rooted plants hold the soil in place, preventing erosion
  • A wide strip of plants also breaks up the velocity of runoff, helping prevent erosion
  • The trees and plants also provide food and habitat for wildlife
  • While providing food and habitat, tall grasses and other plants do deter geese
  • The filter strips keeps chemical use away from the water
  • The trees and plants add beauty and a natural privacy fence
  • The vegetation strip reduces maintenance and expenses by reducing the amount of mowing

It’s important to use native plants, to prevent the infestation of invasive species such as purple loosestrife. Purple loosestrife was introduced as an ornamental flower and has taken over several wetlands in the watershed, depriving wildlife of food and habitat.

These filter strips important for all shoreland, whether along a ditch, stream, river or lake. And the wide the buffer strip, the better. It can even be the whole back yard with a small space mowed for access to the water.

It can be as simple as not mowing the last several feet of your yard along the water, or as complicated as establishing plants in the water and along the shore.

For more information:

  • "Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality"
  • New Visions for Lakeshore
  • $500 grants available for lakescaping projects!
    Wildflowers and other native plants
    add beauty and natural filtration to shoreland.



    Before lakescaping: This lakeshore had
    the typical sweep of turf grass down
    the water’s edge with a narrow filter
    strip of trees and plants.
    After lakescaping: Native plants replace most
    of the turf grass.
    This design maintains access
    to the lake while providing
    much great filtration for runoff.


    Keep Your Storm Water

    Storm water is the No. 1 pollutant in the Shell Rock River Watershed. That’s because storm water picks up sediment (dirt), nutrients such as phosphorus, and contaminants such as oil as it drains off farm fields, streets, drainage ditches, lawns, parking lots and other surfaces.

    All the storm water drains to local lakes and eventually the Shell Rock River.

    You can help by implementing Best Management Practices (BMPs).

    For rural land owners and farmers, than means putting in filter strips, rock inlets and other practices. Call Jared Stricker, 507-377-5786.

    For residents in town, that means planting a rain garden, leaving a strip of plants along shoreland, and not mowing grass clippings into street. For more information, call District Administrator Brett Behnke at 507-377-5785.

    Check out this Stormwater Video