How to Fix Eroded Lake Shorelines In 3 Steps
Shoreline erosion is a common sight around lakes and ponds. Though normal, in some cases it may be cause for concern. Even moderately degraded shorelines can contribute to water quality problems like algae, weeds, and muck, and endanger anyone walking or working near the edge. Your waterbody is too valuable to let erosion interrupt recreational activities and stormwater collection, or threaten the natural beauty, acreage, and value of the property.
Shoreline erosion can occur for many reasons, including heavy wind and rain, wildlife activity, recreation, and urban development in the area. Repairing eroded shorelines before they get out of hand is essential to preserving your waterbody as a functional resource and as a space for connecting with friends, family, and nature.
Step 1: Identify the Extent of Shoreline Erosion Damage
Identifying the level of shoreline degradation is the first step in a restoration plan. Lake management experts typically begin with visual inspections to observe signs of erosion:
- Steep drops, islands, or peninsulas
- Muck and flooding
- Cracking or patchy areas of dirt
- Unstable or sinking earth
- Exposed pipes or root systems
- Shrinking waterbody size and depth
- Cloudy water
Step 2: Repair the Shoreline Using Bioengineering Technology
If severe erosion is present, a professional may recommend completely rebuilding the shoreline with a patented knit system called SOX Erosion Solutions. Experts use bioengineering techniques to reshape and anchor the bank in place. In many cases, this involves repurposing sediment that has eroded to the bottom of the waterbody over the years. Outside material may also be delivered to the restoration site if bottom muck or sediment cannot be utilized. From there, they may sod or plant grass seed over the top.
SOX systems are excellent for homeowners associations, private properties, and community centers because they blend seamlessly into the surrounding environment and provide many years of stability around the water. They’re also a great option for stakeholders with limited budgets – the flexibility of these systems allows for installation in only the areas that need it most, which can help reduce overall project expenses. Installations should be followed by consistent maintenance to further stabilize the system.
- Erosion Repair Technology Results
Step 3: Introduce Native Plants to Further Stabilize the Lake Bank and Filter Runoff
An essential strategy to prolong the longevity of your shoreline is the introduction of a beneficial vegetative buffer. Establishing a buffer of native plant species around the perimeter of the waterbody will help anchor soil in place. For the best results, aquatic experts recommend allowing native plants like pickerelweed, lizard’s tail, or sweet flag to grow approximately 18 in. high and extend approximately 3-5 ft. from the water’s edge.
In addition to holding shoreline soil in place, vegetative buffers help filter stormwater runoff, which picks up pollutants, trash, and organic matter as it flows across sidewalks and roadways before reaching lakes and ponds. Buffer plants also provide essential habitat for fish and desirable wildlife while deterring nuisance species like geese from entering the water.
Buffer maintenance is just one proactive tool in an aquatic expert’s toolbox. Professionals lean on other solutions like fountains and aeration, nutrient management, EPA-registered herbicides, biological bacteria, and mechanical hydro-raking to keep lakes and ponds in healthy condition.
Set Your Shoreline Up for Success
When stakeholders embrace proactive management strategies, their waterbodies benefit inside and out. Shoreline repair solutions like SOX are effective and long-lasting, but proactive management is almost always more cost-effective and may add decades to the lifespan of your highly valued shoreline. When you partner with an experienced lake and pond management provider, you can rest assured that your waterbody is in good hands while reducing costs and complaints over time.
Shoreline Erosion Management
SOLitude Lake Management is a nationwide environmental firm committed to providing sustainable solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty and preserve natural resources.
SOLitude’s team of aquatic scientists specializes in the development and execution of customized lake, stormwater pond, wetland and fisheries management programs. Services include water quality testing and restoration, algae and aquatic weed control, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, shoreline erosion control, muck and sediment removal and invasive species management. SOLitude partners with homeowners associations, golf courses, private landowners, businesses and municipalities. SOLitude Lake Management is part of Rentokil, a leading business services company, operating across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.