Workshop offers tips on natural shorelines

March 27, 2015

Natural shoreline along the Tobacco River in Clare.

Natural shoreline along the Tobacco River in Clare.

By Rosemary Horvath
Correspondent

Lake property owners concerned with protecting their water quality and shoreline have a chance to learn the dos and don’ts of preserving and restoring buffer zones at a workshop hosted by Clare County MSU Extension.

Marybeth Denton of the Harrison MSUE office said MSUE has partnered with the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership to hold workshops around the state to assist homeowners in deciding on shoreline landscaping.

This is important for Clare County that promotes 20 Lakes in 20 Minutes, Denton said.
Another purpose of the workshop is to Train-the-Trainer among whom Denton is one.
With certification from the MNSP, she will be qualified to assist others in understanding design and installation of a natural shoreline.
The Clare County session is April 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Clare-Gladwin RESD south of Harrison. Fee is $75 until April 16. This covers lunch and refreshments and a tool kit and other materials.

The workshop is open to anyone but space is limited to 30 and is nearly full already
However, Denton noted local certified trainers will have the opportunity of holding local workshops in the future.
This Saturday, March 28, the same educational workshop takes place at the Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills, if you care to make the drive.
Registration is from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Fee is $60. A registration form is available on the Facebook page for Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership.
Participants completing the workshop become certified instructors and part of the Shoreline Education Network.

The MNSP began training natural resource professionals in 2011 on how to conduct natural shoreline workshops for homeowners and to provide them the tools to do so.
The MNSP Educator Network was created to connect local natural resource professionals with local people interested in learning how to protect their shorelines.
Topics discussed at workshops include healthy lake ecosystems, designing natural landscapes on lake shoreline, bio-engineering techniques to address high impact shorelines, using native plants in shoreline landscapes, common inland lake invasive species, attracting fish and wildlife to your shoreline, and State of Michigan rules and regulations.

Denton added staff from Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will participate at the April 24 session. They will discuss the importance of healthy lake ecosystems.
An article published by MSUE cites the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Lakes Assessment that acknowledged the biggest problem in the nation’s lakes including those in Michigan is poor lakeshore habitat.

With more than 11,000 inland lakes in this state, there are many threats to the shoreline such as increased shoreline development and decisions of property owners to have manicured lawns and sandy beaches.

Beach areas and seawalls all have negatively impacted lake ecosystems.
The MNSP also demonstrate shoreline landscapes that people can visit to see what can be done to combat issues encountered at the water’s edge.
Definition of shoreline is the area that goes up onto the land and extends into the shallow water. This area provides critical areas for fish and wildlife species such as waterfowl, frogs, otters and deer.

The MSUE article states inland lakes contain 154 species of fish, but already 23 are categorized as threatened, endangered or of special concern due to overdeveloped or degraded shorelines that cannot support fish and wildlife.

To stay updated on MNSP events, check out its Facebook page and website throughout the year. Visit the MSUE events webpage and its Fisheries and Wildlife page.
The publication The Natural Shoreline Landscapes on Michigan’s Inland Lakes: Guidebook for Property Owners can be purchased from Shop MSU via the MSUE Bookstore.

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