Development around waterbodies has a cumulative effect on life within the lake due to nutrients, organic matter, and bacteria produced and discharged along the shoreline.

A healthy shoreline is the best defense against this kind of pollution. The “Ribbon of Life” as ecologists call it, is composed of the long grass, shrubs and trees that are encouraged to grow along the shoreline. These plants serve to filter and reduce the amount of pollution that would otherwise reach the lake.  Retaining walls, manicured lawns, and areas devoid of trees, are detrimental to keeping our water safe and clean.

Generally ecologists suggest that 75% of a lake’s shoreline should remain in a natural state. That leaves 25% for docks, a clearing for access to the lake, and a pathway or stairs. That takes 75% out of your normal maintenance regime……just leave it alone! Your lake will thank you for it.

Shorelines can affect fish as well. Fish love the trees and branches that fall into the water. It gives them cover to hide from predators, places to spawn, and a bit of shade during the hot summer days. Leaving dead branches and trees that fall into the lake near the shoreline is a good and healthy practice. Plus it helps with reducing shoreline erosion. 

If you would like to get more information about how to naturalize your shoreline, further details are available in OLLA’s State of the Lake Report, and also at Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.

For a great introduction to creating a healthy shoreline, click on this FOCA resource:

Shoreline Owner’s Guide to Healthy Waterfronts
OLLA Shoreline Love Your Lake report_2016