Checklist for Owning Lakeshore Property
As a lakeshore property owner you have a unique opportunity to serve as a good lake steward, while increasing the value of your property at the same time. A number of studies show that preserving or restoring the natural character of shore lands increased property values. You may be tempted to clear out the natural vegetation and create a familiar urban environment. But before you do, think of the positive impacts of keeping the property in its natural state and the negative impact of significantly changing the natural environment.
The benefits of preserving natural shore land vegetation include: a great variety of colors and textures to frame your lake views, natural screening to muffle noise and shield your property from those “busy days” on the lake, habitat for a rich variety of wildlife, protection of your valuable land from sloughing into the lake, (which causes unsightly water quality problems and nuisance weed growth), and perhaps, even better fishing. Shorelines support fish and other aquatic populations by providing a critical source of food, cover and natural habitat.
By following this checklist of practices for good lake stewards, you add to the enjoyment of your shore land property, increase its value and preserve it for future generations. A series of small positive actions on your property, added to the same actions by your neighbors and the other property owners around the lake can have a significant benefit to the lake and its water quality.
- Maintain a natural landscape, i.e., keep or replenish native trees, woody plants, shrubs, wildflowers, native grasses and ground cover for low growing vegetation.
- Leave or maintain a buffer zone (30 feet or more) of natural vegetation between the lake and the lawn.
- Consider preserving or re-creating a natural wooded setting. You can have a wooded setting and still maintain a view corridor of the lake.
- Limit paving or sidewalks and driveways to prevent runoff that leads to erosion and pollution of the lake.
- Consider planting a rain garden, which will promote rainwater infiltration and help control runoff.
- Consider smaller lawns with shrub borders or native plantings to replace the lawn area.
- Consider allowing natural vegetation to reestablish itself.
- Choose grass and/or groundcover that minimize maintenance, fertilization and pesticide application.
- Mow only when necessary, the ideal height for healthy grass is 2.5 or 3 inches. Leave grass clippings on the lawn.