More than just a pretty view…
Shorelines and streambanks are important parts of aquatic ecosystems. They provide a natural barrier between land practices and waterbodies. By properly managing these areas, health of our lakes, rivers, and streams can be greatly improved.
Read the topics below to learn more about how to manage your shoreline to protect water quality.
Leave a natural (or at least an unfertilized) buffer of 15 to 25 feet along lakes. This will reduce and filter runoff, deter geese, and keep chemical use away from the water. Many new developments have designated buffer areas around wetlands and watercourses – look for signs marking the buffer boundary and refrain from mowing, fertilizing, or dumping (lawn clippings, pet waste, etc.) in the buffer.
You can order native seeds through the Scott County SWCD’s Natural Shoreline Restoration Program. There are four types of seed mixes available to choose from.
The Minnesota DNR’s Restore Your Shore website provides information and guidance on how to restore your shoreline. The site outlines several different shoreline restoration approaches and includes native plant information, such as their native plant encyclopedia.
Aquatic plant management consists of balancing different needs. While many water users prefer lakes free of vegetation, these plants play a vital role in the lake ecosystem and can even benefit recreation. Many desirable plant species exist in our lakes, providing benefits such as: habitat for wildlife, soil stabilization, absorption of undesirable nutrients, shade to keep the water cool, and water clarity.
Unfortunately, not all plants are desirable. Plants that should be removed include those not originally from this area (non-native), those which out-compete native plants (invasive), and those which have been designated by a Federal, State or county government as harmful to public health, agriculture, recreation, wildlife, or property (noxious). Undesirable plants found in the District include:
- Curlyleaf Pondweed (non-native, invasive)
- Eurasian Watermilfoil (non-native, invasive)
- Purple Loostrife (non-native, invasive, noxious)
Remember that no matter how close to shore, aquatic plants growing in public waters are owned by the State, which enforces strict regulations on vegetation removal, even for non-native and invasive species. Before attempting to control or remove any aquatic plants, contact your local Minnesota Department of Natural Resources office at (952) 496-4141. MN DNR staff can help identify plants, guide you through restrictions, and assist in identifying whether a permit will be required.
Eradicating all aquatic plants is neither practical nor wise, but by taking informed action against problematic plant species, lake users can enjoy the lakes they desire and maintain a healthy ecosystem.
- DNR aquatic plant regulations and approved herbicides.
- List of vendors which offer treatment options such as hand or mechanical pulling, cutting, raking, or herbicide application. (PLSLWD does not endorse any of these vendors.)
- Aquatic plants listed as invasive in the state of Minnesota
There are also periodic classes on shorelines and rain gardens available held locally through the Blue Thumb Program. Grants and technical/design assistance are available through the PLSLWD after completion of the required classes. The Blue Thumb Program also provides information on plant selection, DIY designs and local sources of native plants for shoreline stabilization.