Shoreland Health

What is the Shoreland?


Healthy shorelands are as valuable to people as they are vital to lake ecosystems. The area where land meets water, collectively referred to as the "shoreland", can be both captivating and calming and is a primary focus for many recreational activities. These wide bands of water and land surround the lake and include upland areas at least 30 m beyond the water's edge. Since shorelands are ecotones, or a meeting place of land and aquatic ecosystems, they provide important food sources and habitat for 90% of freshwater species, as well as essential support for up to 70% of land-based wildlife too.

In their natural state, shorelands can be remarkably resilient and self-sustaining.  However, this area is sensitive to excessive use and common human activities. Careful considerations are therefore needed to balance human recreation with lake conservation.

Functions of Shorelands

Shorelands provide a number of important functions to nature and wildlife as well as to humans and their property. You can click through the below to learn more about just some of these various functions.

In addition to the above, natural shorelands also:

  • Protect lakes’ water quality
  • Provide shade from the sun and relief from the wind
  • Reduce noise and dust
  • Help prevent flooding
  • Reduce the amount of time and money spent on property maintenance
  • Provide privacy and screening against social crowding
  • Provide an instant learning ground and playground for children and youth

Shoreland Health & The Blue Lakes Program

One of the Performance Areas that participants can set goals and actions under within the Blue Lakes Program surrounds managing the shoreland on their property. Participants may elect to work under this Performance Area if they want a scenic lakefront, want to deter nuisance species from entering their property, want to protect their property from erosion, and more. Example actions participants can take within the Shoreland Health Performance Area include:

  • Naturalizing their lawns
  • Reducing the use of winter bubblers that change the natural cycles of lakes, and increasing levered docks
  • Maintaining existing natural shores and re-naturalizing developed areas
  • Replacing hardened embedded staircases with raised stairs

Additional Resources

The Blue Lakes Program has put together resources on how property owners can ensure their shorelands are healthy and intact. You can launch this guide below!

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