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Did you know that a natural shoreline is best for lake health?

BringLifetoYourShore_logo_Art only.pngA natural shoreline reduces runoff and captures pollution before it enters a lake. It's also a diverse ecosystem that creates:

  • A buffer against wave action that erodes soil

  • Spawning areas for bass, crappie and other fish

  • Habitat for birds, butterflies, turtles and frogs

Consider restoring your shore to its natural state! Not only will you protect your shoreline from erosion, but you'll also reduce pollution entering the lake and create an oasis for wildlife.

What is a natural shoreline?

A natural shoreline is a habitat with a diverse mix of plants near and within the water. Native plants maximize benefits such as capturing runoff, filtering pollution, and providing habitat for wildlife. Deep roots of native plants also hold soil in place and use up nutrients that would otherwise cause algae blooms. A natural shoreline creates a buffer between land and water that reduces erosion from wave action.

Shoreline Maintenance Event_2017Jun29_Native Flowers_web.jpg


Permits needed for shoreline work

Modifications to a shoreline such as placement of riprap (rock), re-grading or movement of soil, creating a beach, installing a retaining wall triggers the District's Rule F and requires a permit from the District.  Not sure you need a permit? Please email Terry Jeffery.


Aquatic plants for lake health

Native aquatic plants provide valuable services in protecting lake health. They shelter young fish and other small animals, reflect heat to keep water cooler, absorb water pollution, provide food for ducks and other birds, and so much more! Because of these benefits, the Minnesota DNR regulates aquatic plants. If you want to control or remove aquatic plants, you will most likely need a permit. Learn more from the DNR Aquatic Plant Management Program.

Resources for lakeshore residents

  • Score Your Shore - A tool developed by the DNR to help shoreline property owners assess the state of their shore.
  • Apply for a Grant - Residents of the District are eligible for grants up to 75% of the project cost for projects that protect and improve water resources, such as restoring a shoreline.
  • Restore Your Shore - a collection of DNR resources to help you restore your natural shoreline, such as solutions to common problems, plant guides to help you choose the right plants for your shore, and step-by-step guides to help you complete your project.
  • Request a Survey - Permits are required for work done below the Ordinary High Water Level (OHWL). To determine your properties OHWL, contact your local DNR Waters area hydrologist for a survey. OHWL reports are available for some individual lakes using LakeFinder, but you still need a survey to determine the exact level of your property.
  • Shoreline Alteration Info Sheets from the Mn DNR

Other Resources:

Apply for a Grant!

The Watershed District offers generous cost-share grants for shoreline restorations! 

Property owners are eligible for a grant of up to 75% of the project cost up to a maximum dollar amount. For individual homeowners, the maximum is $5,000. For non-profit organizations such as homeowner associations, the maximum is $20,000.

Learn more about Watershed grants.

More money may be available to help cover the cost of your shoreline restoration. Reach out to your local city, county, or lake association for information. Some to check out:

Shallow Lakes Webinar

What does a shallow lake look like, and why are plants so important in a shallow lake? What are the rules and regulations regarding shallow lakes? Joe Bischoff, a Senior Aquatic Ecologist and Certified Lake Manger with Barr Engineering Co, will present this webinar on April 12th at 6:30pm. Register here.

Need Seeds?

The District will begin offering native shoreline seed mixes next month. This mix contains shorter grasses & sedges that highlight a diverse list of wildflowers for shoreline areas. Expect 2-3' tall blooming flowers, meant for 1-2' up from the water's edge. Email Eleanor to be notified when seed mix becomes available.

Goose trouble?

Canada geese can be pests in a backyard, and scare tactics such as pinwheels and scarecrows only work for so long. Looking for a long-term solution? Restore your shore! The tall and thick vegetation of a natural shoreline discourages Canada geese from strolling into your yard.

CanadaGoose_Wikimedia.jpg Canada goose, source: Wikimedia Commons


Contact Terry Jeffery at or 952-807-6885.

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Shoreline Management Video

In February 2021, we partnered with the Minnesota DNR and Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District to host a webinar about Lakeshore Management. Topics covered include why healthy lakeshores are important, best management practices, and how to choose the right practice for your lakeshore.