Maintaining and restoring natural shorelines

image of loon on restored shoreline

People have been enjoying and residing along our beautiful shores ever since the glaciers receded. In recent times, we have been losing our natural shorelines and the abundance, health, and prosperity they provide to wildlife and people. While it is relatively easy for property owners to protect natural shorelines, it is much harder to restore them once they are gone. These resources will help you get started in restoring your shore and improving the health of your lake.

Why are natural shorelines important?

before and after comparisons of restoration

Healthy Shorelines – How vegetation promotes healthy shorelines and waters.

The Water’s Edge – A short guide for helping fish and wildlife on your lakeshore property.

How can I restore my shoreline?

before and after comparisons of restoration

The Value and Use of Vegetation - Overview of common restoration projects, as well as a few recommended plants.

Score Your Shore – A step by step guide for evaluating functional shorelines.

Restore Your Shore – Restoration guide for landowners. Be sure to explore the Plant Guide and Native Plant Encyclopedia!

Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality - Book from Department of Natural Resources

Shoreline Alterations: Natural Buffers and Lakescaping – Tips for creating a shoreline buffer.

Landscaping with Native Plants – Tips for small-scale landscaping.

External resources

before and after comparisons of restoration

BWSR – Vegetation Establishment and Management – BWSR’s guidance for vegetation restoration.

Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership – check out the “Resources” section for tips on natural shorelines.

Protecting Your Waterfront Investment – University of Wisconsin Extension publication

NRCS Engineering Field Handbook: Chapter 16, Streambank and Shoreline Protection

Shoreline Stabilization: A Guide for Homeowners and Conservationists on Inland Lakes and Flowages

Who do I contact about my project?

before and after comparisons of restoration

After reviewing these links, a good first point of contact for any project is your local County Soil and Water Conservation District, who may provide technical assistance. If you live in an area covered by a Watershed District or Watershed Management Organization, they may offer similar types of assistance as well.

Shoreline Alteration Information Sheets – DNR permitting guidance for activities within public waters - such as riprap, ice ridges, or beaches.

Shoreland Management Program - Your local zoning authority may have specific permitting requirements for your project – often found in their shoreland management. ordinance

Aquatic Plant Management Program – Before removing or planting aquatic vegetation, please contact DNR Fisheries for permit requirements.