Written by Industry Experts Brandon Tindley and Greg Blackham, Aquatic Specialists
Have you seen the banks of your lake or pond slowly recede and retreat year after year? Have you noticed soil and silt deposits building up along the shoreline? Does the average water depth of your waterbody get shallower each year? The erosion you are seeing is the natural, yet unwelcoming process of bank erosion. This is especially problematic in man-made lakes as nature utilizes gravity to level everything out. With erosion comes the mobility of additional pollutants into your water including nutrients, chemicals, and additional pathogens. When you combine all these factors, erosion can contribute to an overwhelming amount of stress factors on water quality, wildlife balance, and functionality. In most cases, the easiest and most cost effective measure to help prevent bank erosion is by creating a vegetative buffer zone. This should also be the first consideration when designing a long term solution to an existing bank erosion problem.
The number one benefit of a beneficial vegetative buffer is its ability to act as a natural filter for runoff. The longer and wider the buffer zone extends, the more particles it can slow down, intercept, and settle before reaching the pond. Vegetation can also protect the bank from rain impact erosion. Rain drops that hit bare soil can displace a lot of soil in a short amount of time. Another critical defense a buffer zone can provide is protection from wind and wave erosion. Plant roots can also help hold soil together whether it is along the shoreline in the water or even upland.