Lakeshore Development

Guidelines for developing near a lake.

1. Worried about erosion? Use the power of plants. Root systems are great at holding soil together. If you choose to use plants, consider planting native species like Willow or Red Osier Dogwood.

2. Rethink the retaining wall. These destroy natural habitat and may actually contribute to erosion by redirecting wave energy toward the wall’s foundation and surrounding shoreline. If your retaining wall is deteriorating, consider softening your shoreline by breaking up the wall or adding rocks and plants. The right mix of rocks and vegetation will protect against erosion and also preserve lake habitat.

3. Only take a quarter. If planning additions or alterations to your dock, boathouse, or lake access point, consider that together these should affect no more than 25% of your lot’s shoreline.

4. Choose wisely. If you’re thinking about building or replacing a dock, consider a floating design connected to shore by a raised walkway. This will be sensitive to habitat and aquatic life.

5. Let the buffer be. This is likely the most important thing you can do for your lake. You can start simply by not mowing near the lake. The buffer will start growing on its own.

6. Limit the lawn. Redesign your lawn so it’s as small and far from the lake as possible. This not only helps minimize erosion and runoff, but maximizes your relaxation time at the lake.

7. Don't forget what's gone down the drain. Making sure your septic system is working properly helps make sure harmful nutrients or chemicals aren't seeping into the lake.

8. Redirect runoff. The slower water drains off your lot, the more contaminants will be filtered out and the less chance it will erode your land. Slowing runoff may be as simple as placing a rain barrel under your downspout or planting shrubs where water drains off your driveway.