Living by Water

2007 Summer Newsletter
 Shoreline Makeover

1. Cleared, manicured lot – lacks shade and privacy; loss of native plants leads to more erosion, runoff…and work for you!

2. Runoff – flows over solid surfaces accelerating erosion; pollutants and excess silt degrade habitat for aquatic life.

3. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides – degrade water quality, are hazardous to your health, can be deadly for fish and other wildlife.

4. Lawn to the water’s edge – lacks deep roots required to stabilize bank.

5. Hardened shoreline – can deflect erosion downstream, eliminates “natural filtering” of pollutants and sediment, degrades habitat.

6. Artificial beach – requires ongoing sand replacement, reduces water quality, degrades aquatic habitat.

7. Old 2-stroke engine – dumps 25-40% of fuel, un-combusted into water and air.

8. Solid crib dock – destroys aquatic habitat, alters currents, can deflect erosion downstream.

9. Malfunctioning septic system – allows phosphorous and bacteria to leach into adjacent waterways.

10. Harmful household chemicals and cleaners – damage septic system and degrade water quality.


1. Prune trees rather than removing them; plant low maintenance native trees and shrubs to reduce erosion and absorb runoff.

2. Replace solid surfaces with porous materials where possible; redirect runoff into settling areas, away from the water’s edge.

3. “Mow it high and let it lie” – leave grass 8 cm (3″) high to retain moisture, mulch clippings for fertilizer.

4. Start a buffer – leave some grass uncut along the water’s edge; restore with deep rooting native plants.

5. “Soften” your shoreline – improve erosion protection with native trees, shrubs, grasses and aquatic plants.

6. Create a “dry land” beach above the high water mark; let imported sand erode away naturally and native plants grow back.

7. Use a well maintained electric motor, or a 4 or 2-stroke engine that meets or exceeds EPA 2006 guidelines.

8. Remove solid dock – try a pipe, cantilever or floating dock, avoid treated wood; use public access where possible.

9. Replace and properly maintain your septic system – consult an expert.

10. Use environment – friendly products, or alternatives like baking soda and vinegar.