If you ask any shoreline cabin owner what they like most about living at the lake, you might get a myriad responses including; escaping the rat race, soaking up the peace and tranquillity, being able to watch the wildlife, having somewhere to fish and park a boat, as well as just plain enjoying the view.
Natural shoreline vegetation is usually the first casualty when planning and developing your shoreline paradise. Trees and shrubs come down to make room for that view. No doubt a 20-foot high wall of trees blocking 100 percent of the view, for which you paid so dearly, may not be exactly why you bought the property in the first place. But consider this – what if your unimpeded view was having a direct or indirect impact on all the other reasons you to go to the lake? What if you could enjoy the wildlife, park your boat, fish for your supper and peacefully watch your kids swimming and playing—all while still keeping that view?
Maintaining your shoreline in its natural state doesn’t mean losing your view. There is room to negotiate a slice of your shoreline for your recreational preferences while still keeping the rest in a healthy natural state. In fact, maintaining the majority of your shoreline in its natural state will enhance your enjoyment of that slice. A natural shoreline rich in biodiversity and many layers of natural vegetation can help stabilize your banks, preventing excessive erosion. Erosion leads to decreased water quality by increasing turbidity and nutrient loading in the water; both which impact fish habitat, and weed and algal growth. No one wants excess algae when trying to catch their supper. Anecdotal reports have claimed that excess algal growth impacted the taste of the fish and ruined the enjoyment of many a glass of wine (with the fetid smell of decay), not to mention having to listen to disappointed children who can’t swim due to poor water quality.
A natural shoreline with healthy vegetation also acts as a buffer to filter out many contaminants contained in surface runoff such as fertilizers, road salts, and other substances associated with roads and vehicles. Not using these chemicals in the first place is the first line of defense, but that is not always practical. Having natural filters and buffers in place helps protect your lake, its inhabitants, and its water quality.
But if all of that is not reason enough, good lake water quality and shoreline stability will only serve to maintain or increase property values. Now, who doesn’t like that?
A healthy shoreline has many benefits if you are willing to take a second look at your view.
Funding to do naturalization projects along Humboldt Lake, Last Mountain Lake, and Buffalo Pound Lake has been made available from the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program.