Lakeshore: “God Does Not Make This Anymore!”
People love the lake country. They love the outdoors. They buy lakeshore lots to satisfy this love. The lakeshore is often immediately converted into the typical stereotype of what the ‘perfect’ lakeshore lot should look like – open manicured bluegrass lawn right down to the water’s edge. All Aquatic plants are removed and a blanket of sand is added for a swimming beach.
When this happens the fish population starts to decline from lack of habitat. There is less wildlife and birds along the shore. Canada geese can become a problem. The lake turns green from algae growth stimulated by runoff of fertilizers. More time is spent mowing the lawn than fishing. What happens is this: the lake system is thrown out of balance and natural lakeshore becomes an endangered commodity.
The Minnesota Lakes Association urges property owners to have a vision. Instead of a perfect shore land lawn, the owners should establish a buffer zone of natural vegetation along the shoreline to create a balance with nature that requires less maintenance and chemicals and results in better water quality.
What is a buffer zone? A natural strip of vegetation along at least 75 percent of the property frontage and which extends into both the land and water for a distance of at least 25 – 50 feet, where possible. The goal is simple: restore the shoreline with the vegetation that was there in the first place, while providing reasonable lake access and recreational opportunities.
Natural buffer zones solve many problems. Vegetation, like bulrushes and cattails, reduces shoreline erosion caused by wind and boat traffic, helps purify the water by removing the contaminants, and provides more homes for fish and wildlife. Carol Henderson, of the Minnesota DNR is author of a book “Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality.” This book can be found at most Minnesota bookstores, or by calling 800-657-3757
– The Minnesota Book Store.