A Guide for Buying and Managing Shoreland

Section 9: Disturbed Shoreland

Drawing of disturbed shoreland vegetation.

Disturbed shoreline = hard surfaces and reduced vegetation = degraded water resources

Degraded water quality due to dramatically increased runoff water

  • Minimal natural filtration leads to a much higher portion of precipitation becoming runoff water. A mostly natural landscape has about 10% runoff. A mostly hard surface landscape (including lawns) has about 55% water runoff.
  • Unfiltered runoff water - Increased amounts of pollutants enter the water Excessive nutrients lead to excessive aquatic plant growth. Increased sedimentation and lower oxygen levels lead to unhealthy aquatic plants and marine life. Cloudy water reduces sunlight penetration into the water and this degrades the aquatic environment. Going from mostly natural to mostly hard surface means more of each negative factor affects the water.
  • Minimal ground water infiltration - Poorly filtered water directly enters the ground water. Drinking water and agricultural irrigation water is degraded. Going from mostly natural to mostly hard surface means infiltration is reduced from 50% to 15%. Underground aquifer levels are reduced and may eventually dry up.

Degraded natural habitats

  • Poor habitats reduce the quality and quantity of shoreland and upland birds and wildlife.
  • Poor water quality and habitats degrade aquatic plant and animal communities.
  • Poor habitats reduce species diversity and increase the risk of species being wiped out by diseases and pests.

Degraded visual qualities. Shoreline looks disturbed and unnatural

  • Vegetation removal looks unnatural and sterile.
  • Man-made structures and intrusions are obvious.
  • The shoreline looks artificial and over-developed.