Shorelines with woods, meadows, and marshes enhance the quality of Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. Natural shorelines provide homes for fish and wildlife, deter nuisance species like Canada geese, and provide recreational opportunities. They add beauty and color to a property and increase privacy.
A natural shoreline provides food and habitat for fish, waterfowl, songbirds, frogs, turtles, mammals, and butterflies. Some people fear tall grasses and shrubs thinking they encourage pesky insects like mosquitoes. Native vegetation actually provides cover and resting places for insects like dragonflies that feast on mosquitoes.
Aquatic plants help to stabilize your shoreland property. They reduce wave erosion caused by wind and watercraft. Native plants along the shoreline also hold the soil in place and provide protection against ice damage.
Shoreland vegetation traps sediments and pollutants that destroy fish spawning areas and reduce water quality. Vegetation slows runoff and allows water to filter through the soil and recharge ground water. Plants on the shore absorb nutrients that can cause excessive aquatic vegetation growth and algae blooms – the green scum on the water.
Plus, a natural shoreline reduces maintenance required with a manicured lawn. Once native plants are established they require little maintenance. In the past many people thought a green, weed-free lawn right down to the water’s edge was beautiful. But perceptions and laws such as the Phosphorous Lawn Fertilizer Law are the mistakes of the past. Many people now realize that a manicured lawn disrupts the ecological balance of the surface water. By choosing to replace some of your lawn with native plants, you will help nearby surface waters and save time on yard maintenance.
NOTE: Information obtained from the Minnesota DNR website. For additional information please visit www.dnr.state.mn.us.