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Backyard Conservation: Native Shoreline Planting

Stream-bank and shoreline erosion can significantly impact the water quality and wildlife habitat of our rivers and lakes. Historically, the solution was to place rocks, walls, or other heavy items along the shore to keep soil in place. These practices may stabilize the stream-bank or shoreline temporarily, but are often very expensive and create an area that is almost devoid of wildlife habitat and other benefits.

Native shoreline stabilization or bioengineering offers an alternative to hard armoring with rock or walls. Native shoreline stabilization consists of using native vegetation and bioengineering techniques to protect the shorelines of lakes and streams. It involves working with natural materials such as live vegetation and natural flow deflectors (strategically placed rock or root wads from old trees that are placed along the bank) to create a self-repairing bank. A properly designed, naturalized stream-bank or shoreline can offer immediate stabilization while also providing substantial wildlife habitat and water quality benefits.


Shoreline Project

Native plants are strongly encouraged for shoreline stabilizations. Native plants have deep roots that help anchor soil in place and prevent erosion, provide excellent wildlife habitat, and are adapted to local climate and soil conditions. Vegetation is one of the most important elements in the natural protection of land. Roots and stems tend to trap fine sand and soil particles, forming an erosion-resistant layer. Vegetation absorbs some of the water's energy, slowing down potentially erosive currents. Vegetation also acts as a shoreline buffer that slows runoff entering the stream or lake and removes nutrients from the runoff.

Financial Incentive Programs:

Landscaping for Clean Water Grants
Citizen Conservation Stewards

Links:

Blue Thumb - Planting for Clean Water
Dakota County Landscaping for Clean Water
Lakescaping and Shorline Restoration (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)
Minnesota Shoreland Management Resource Guide