According to the National Lakes Assessment, loss of lakeshore habitat is the biggest threat to the overall health of Michigan’s inland lakes.
The Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership states that natural vegetation helps keep a lake healthy by protecting the shoreline from erosion, providing homes, food, and refuge for fish and wildlife, and filtering pollutants from runoff.
Here you will find some lake friendly landscaping tips that add beauty to your property and protect the health of Hutchins Lake.
“Michigan’s inland lakes support a wealth of plants and animals, many of which depend upon the nearshore and shoreline areas at some point during their lives. But according to the EPA’s National Lakes Assessment, 40% of Michigan's inland lakes have poor lakeshore habitat. Learn more about the importance of healthy lakeshores and what you can do to protect and restore them for the benefit of the lakes you love.”
- Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
Maximize the amount of vegetation on a naturally sloped shoreline using native plants and other bioengineering techniques. A natural shoreline adds beauty to the lakefront, controls erosion, filters out pollution, and provides a great habitat for frogs, turtles, dragonflies, and other lake creatures. Shoreline Living Magazine provides examples of everyday shoreline property owners that dipped their toes into rehabilitating or protecting a natural shoreline. View the photo gallery to get inspired by their beautiful landscape designs.
If you are looking to install or replace a seawall, consider alternative lake friendly options such as natural vegetation and other bioengineering techniques. Seawalls are quite common, but they do not filter out pollution, do not provide habitat for lake creatures, and erode the lake bottom.
Minimize the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Do not use phosphorous fertilizers. Do not fertilize within 35 feet of the shore. When fertilizer washes into the lake, it creates harmful algae blooms and harms the entire food chain of the lake ecosystem.
Plant native vegetation on 75% or more of your property. Native vegetation filters out pollutants, controls erosion, provides habitat for animals, and adds beauty to your property. Minimize the surface area of your lawn as lawns remove habitat and create an easier path for pollutants to enter the lake.
Minimize impervious surfaces such as driveways and solid concrete patios. Impervious surfaces increase the amount of pollutants that run into the lake because they do not allow rainwater to seep into the ground where natural filtering occurs. Impervious surfaces can also cause erosion problems and was sediments into the lake.
Do not remove native plants from the lake except for a small swim area or boating lane. Native plants are critical to the health of the lake ecosystem as they provide food, habitat, and oxygen for the creatures in the lake.
Artificial beach creation is discouraged but where maintained this practice should be minimized to a small area.
“There’s something magical about spending time at a lake, whether you’re swimming, boating, fishing, or just sitting and listening to the lapping waves. There are simple steps property owners can take to keep their lakes clean and healthy for generations to come. The Shoreline Living series shares the examples of ordinary property owners who have done something extraordinary. Each is taking steps in their own way to do their part to care for the lake. From small steps to rehabilitate a relatively manicured property to protecting an almost fully forested and natural landscape, the articles within feature the efforts of people just like you.”
- Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership
”Protecting your lake is more than not using phosphorous based fertilizer and picking up pet waste. It is sharing the space with all of the wildlife that calls the lake and surrounding land home. The MI Shoreland Stewards Program offers an online questionnaire for you to assess your property. This survey can help you understand what you are doing well and what might need some improving.”
- Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership
The Michigan Shoreland Stewards Program was created to recognize inland lake property owners for using best management practices to protect their lake. Become a Shoreland Stewards Ambassador and help spread the word about the program and healthy lakeshores.
Photo by Mark Bugnaski Photography
Learn more about what you can do to protect the health of Hutchins Lake and enjoy it to the fullest.
© 2023 Hutchins Lake Improvement Association