It has long been recognized that logs, sticks, and other woody structure in rivers provide habitat for a variety of aquatic insects. These insects are the foundation of the food chain and are essential to sustaining a healthy fishery. Recent research indicates that the same holds true for lakes. Several recent studies have examined the impact of shoreline development on lakes. The conclusion of these studies is that excessive development of shorelines and loss of shoreline vegetation are adversely impacting the quality of our lakes. For a lake property owner, these are extremely important findings and underscore the need to properly manage lakefront property.
The take-home message is straightforward: Maintain or restore as much natural shoreland as possible. That is not to say that you can’t—or shouldn’t—have an area to swim, moor boats, fish or lounge by the shore. However, manicured lawn to the water’s edge and boundless seawalls are not conducive to a healthy lake. Natural shorelines are easier to maintain and provide many ecological benefits.
Gladwin and Midland Counties, Michigan
In the first-ever nationwide assessment of lakes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency evaluated several stressors of lakes. Of the factors evaluated, lack of shoreline vegetation was the biggest problem facing the nation’s lakes. Lakes with poor shoreline habitat were three times more likely to be in poor biological condition (U.S. EPA 2010).
Click here or the image below to get your own copy of The Water's Edge: Helping Fish and Wildlife on Your Lakeshore Property. The 12-page booklet is loaded with information on how to protect the lake.