PORTFOLIO

Shorelines
Learn about lakescaping.

START HERE: Shorelines:
The key to preserving our lakes.
 

Healthy shorelines are comprised of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, grasses, sedges, and aquatic plants, which provide a buffer against soil erosion. Densely rooted plants trap and filter fertilizers, chemicals, and other pollutants. Shoreline vegetation fosters zooplankton, which are near the bottom of the food chain, and are essential to the lake ecosystem.

If you own property on one of Wisconsin's beautiful lakes, the time has come to consider  lakescaping.  Wisconsin is in the process of reviewing minimum shoreland development standards to protect and preserve our lakes. Research shows that a thriving plant community on the lake edge is crucial for good water quality. Shoreline plantings, or lakescaping, encompass plantings from 100 feet of the shoreline all the way down to and into the water, and new water quality standards will probably require them of property owners. Every property owner in the watershed has a responsibility to care for the lake. Lakeshore restorations are essential if  lake quality is to be preserved. Lakescaping is the future of your shoreline. 

NOW IS A GREAT TIME TO DO YOUR SHORELINE PROJECT.  Changing standards are going to make permitting your shoreline work even more difficult than it already is, and even more stringent standards will make it even more expensive.  Botanica designs, installs, and maintains beautiful, functional shorelines that meet all NPCAA requirements.  Our careful planning, attention to detail, and conscientious maintenance during establishment guarantee the success of your shoreline project.  We help you look good and do the right thing for the lake.  

Shoreline restoration plantings are a major investment.  The good news is, if they are done property, they are a permanent investment, as they do not deteriorate like riprap, but rather improve over time.  A well-done lakeshore restoration is beautiful, functional, and will last decades or longer. Shoreline buffers, once established, are very low maintenance. Shorelines can be planned to preserve and enhance lake views, accommodate recreation, and because there is less lawn to mow, increase leisure time. Buffers also keep nuisance animals, like Canada Geese, off the shore. Plantings don't cause mosquito problems. A planted area along the lake serves as a resting area for dragonflies, damselflies, frogs and the like, all of which help keep the mosquito population in check by eating them.

Donate and Save:
Help the Lakes, Save money.
 

As part of our commitment to protecting and preserving our lakes, any donation you make (up to $200) to any lake conservation organization (see right) will be deducted from the price of your lakeshore work in 2007.


 

Conservation Links:
Find out more about Lakeshores 

Wisconsin's Shoreline Management Program
The DNR Site. Find out about permits, minimum standards, and how to participate in the review of Wisconsin's shoreland development standards.  You can also download publications, resources, and newsletters.

Geneva Lake Conservancy
The Geneva Lake Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of open space, ecology and history, and directs its efforts toward shaping zoning policies and decisions, public and private land conservation, and environmental education. Beautiful site contains information about membership, local history, activism, and has links to many other lake conservation sites. 

The University of Wisconsin Urban Horticulture
This is an excellent  resource page. They claim "This is the most complete source of horticulture information for Wisconsin on the Internet."

Plant Conservation Alliance 
Excellent plant database, with tons of information about native plants, invasive plants, and restoration.  PICTURES of everything are a wonderful aid to identification.

Wisconsin Association of Lakes
Become a friend of Wisconsin's Lakes.  This volunteer membership organization works to protect inland lakes and waterways, to promote public policy, to advance education, to strengthen local leadership, and to preserve and protect inland waterways, their watersheds and their ecosystems.

Gathering Waters Conservancy
Gathering Waters is a land conservation organization formed to assist land trusts, landowners and communities in their efforts to protect Wisconsin's land and water resources.

The Geneva Lake Environmental Agency
Good resource for current lake data. The Agency is dedicated to the study of Geneva Lake and its watershed regarding its physical, chemical and biological characteristics, water quality, lake and land use; protective measures, recreation and resource related problems.

Minnesota  Department of Natural Resources
Great web site, sells a CD-ROM called Restore Your Shore that would be valuable to a do-it-yourselfer.  They also wrote and sell the Lakescaping bible:  Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality. 

Lakescaping... the future of your shoreline
This story first appeared in Lake & Country Magazine.

Our Wisconsin lakes are a treasure, worthy of the best protections we can give them. Sixty years ago, you could dip a cup into any of our local lakes, and drink the water. Today, if you stand in some lakes up to your ankles, you can't see your feet because of the algae. Development has had a huge impact. The good news is we now know how to arrest, prevent, and even reverse the deterioration of our lakes.

Research shows that a thriving plant community on the lake edge is crucial for good water quality. Lakescaping encompasses plantings from 100 feet of the shoreline all the way down to and into the water. Native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, grasses, sedges, and aquatic plants provide a buffer against soil erosion. Densely rooted plants trap and filter fertilizers, chemicals, and other pollutants. Shoreline vegetation fosters zooplankton which are essential to the lake ecosystem. Lakeshore is one of the most biologically diverse natural communities in the Midwest. It is not just property, it is habitat!

Shoreline buffers, once established, are very low maintenance. They can be planned to preserve and enhance lake views, accommodate recreation, and, because there is less lawn to mow, increase leisure time. Buffers also keep nuisance animals, like Canada Geese, off the shore. Plantings don't cause mosquito problems. A planted area along the lake serves as a resting area for dragonflies, damselflies, frogs and the like, all of which help keep the mosquito population in check by eating them.

How to proceed? 1. Make a plan. The state recommends that at least 3/4 of your lake frontage be planted in shoreline buffer, and unneeded lawn should be eliminated from all areas of your lakeshore property. Plan to place trees and shrubs to enhance your view, and grasses, sedges, and wildflowers to fill the gaps, and provide color. Emergent, floating, and submergent plants will be anchored in water until they are established. 2. Inform yourself about laws and zoning requirements. Links to state and local agencies can be found on the Shorelines page at www.botanicawisconsin.com. 3. Select your plants. Native plants thrive best in the local ecosystem. 4. Prepare the site by eliminating invasive weeds and turf, then plant, being sure to follow state and local guidelines. 5. Finally, maintain it. Diligent attention is necessary for the first two years, to keep weeds out. After plants are established, they will outcompete most weeds. No maintenance is usually necessary on the lakeshore after the first two years.

Now may be a great time to get started on your lakeshore enhancements. The Department of Natural Resources is currently updating its 34-year -old shoreland development standards. The new standards will address minimum lot size, setbacks, and shoreland vegetation management. New mandates will offer better protection of our lakes, but requirements will be more rigorous, and permitting will be even more challenging.

Danniel Ward-Packard

The writer is co-owner of Botanica Fine Gardens and Landscapes which installs shoreline buffer plantings, landscapes, gardens and ponds in the Southern Lakes area. For more information call (262) 248-7513 or check out www.botanicawisconsin.com

We look forward to hearing from you.   
Call 262/ 248-7513