Native shorelines - not a weedy mess, but a beneficial ecosystem keeping your lake, stream, or river healthy and usable for generations to come.
If you live on an inland lake, river, or stream with a shoreline that either has erosion problems or has had erosion problems, vertical seawalls and turf grass are common, but improper choices to address this. A vertical seawall deflects the waves into the bottom of the waterway dredging up sediment which reduces water clarity and can cause algae to grow. Vertical seawalls inhibit the growth of desirable plants reducing water quality and the available habitat for fish. Turf grass is an even worse choice for stopping shoreline erosion - its root structure is not strong enough to defend against the force and density of water.
The shoreline is of critical importance to the survival and health of the ecosystem in our lakes, streams, rivers, and coastal water areas. Installing a native shoreline will deal with with shoreline erosion, offer shoreline protection, and is the best method for shoreline restoration. Using strategies gained from the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership, Upstream Waters Landscape stabilizes and repairs shorelines by leaving the native shoreline intact, restoring the shoreline, or developing a hybrid shoreline.
Leave the Existing Native Shoreline Intact
If your property or site has an undisturbed shoreline with native plantings upland, at the shore, and in the water, leave it undisturbed. Working under the guidelines of the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership we can adapt the shoreline to fulfill the goals you have for using the shoreline and accessing the water.
If you have an existing concrete, steel, or timber vertical seawall that is failing, a native shoreline can replace the seawall with better performance, reduced life time cost, and greater adaptability to the ever changing nature of water.
If the turf grass growing down to your seawall or water's edge is eroding, a shoreline restoration using native plants can be designed to replace the turf grass along shoreline. A smaller area of turf grass can be preserved for recreational use.
Develop a Hybrid Shoreline
Based on site conditions, location, and near shore use it may be necessary to develop a hybrid design for your shoreline that combines plantings with hard structures. This approach is used when there are several different factors, such as upland use near the water, in water use near the shoreline, wave energy, wind energy, and boat activity that need to be accounted for in designing the native shoreline. Success of a shoreline restoration is only certain when all the factors of the site are considered.
At Upstream Waters Landscape, we focus on shoreline restorations along the inland lakes, streams, and rivers of Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana. If your shoreline has problems with erosion, grass to the water's edge, wildlife tearing up your shoreline, a failing seawall, or other issues, Upstream Waters Landscape has a Certified Natural Shoreline Professional on staff ready to talk with you about the benefits and lower costs over time of a natural shoreline.