As waterfront properties have significantly increased in value over the last few decades, so too has the recognition of how important their protection is. The plethora of pristine bodies of water in Wisconsin has been arguably taken for granted, their integrity and quality compromised as a result of an explosion in development and more ambitious landscaping. Many long time lake dwellers, depending on the lake in question, have seen subtle or more drastic changes in water quality, wildlife and shoreline appearance along theirs and neighboring lakes. While impact cannot be reversed, changing property management trends paired with increasing awareness of our actions affecting our environment has positive implications for preserving the integrity of our lakes.

New lakefront homeowners are as cognizant as long-time residents of preserving and protecting shorelines while maximizing their enjoyment of life on the water. Designing waterfront pier, platform and lift solutions with experts such as Summerset Marine Construction factors in the enhancement of the property while minimizing impact. Additionally, shoreline restoration and re-incorporating native plant species has entered into the conversation, as the benefits extend far beyond beautifying the property.

Fewer residential properties on lakes today boast shorelines that have been undeveloped, due to ambitious plans for landscaping and maximizing views and access. For those with the good fortune of acquiring waterfront property that hasn’t been altered from its original natural state, it is wise to fully assess the advantages of preserving as much as possible to minimize impact on water quality and wildlife.

A natural shoreline offers the following advantages:

  • Slows the runoff of unnatural substances (such as pesticides and fertilizers)
  • Reduces erosion, due to the depth of the root system; native grasses and plantings have much deeper roots than exotic species that have been introduced or turf grasses
  • Restores property to its natural beauty as well as increases privacy
  • Provides the natural habitat needed for native wildlife to thrive while deterring nuisance species (ie. Canadian Geese)
  • Significantly reduces maintenance requirements as they are better suited to thrive in the climate; once native plantings are reintroduced and allowed to establish themselves, they are inclined to thrive with little fertilization or other unnatural maintenance and chances are reduced that exotic, unwanted species will invade

Lakefront residents respectful of the natural habitat they are coexisting with contribute to its existence and enjoyment for future generations. The ultimate goal of shoreline restoration should not be to impede enjoyment of lake and water activities, but enhance it for years to come as it preserves the health of the water itself. As an added benefit, improving water quality, wildlife habitat and natural appearance will also increase the property’s value.