Become a Shoreland Steward: Schedule a Shoreline Consultation Today

Left to themselves, natural barriers form to protect shorelines from erosion and runoff. However, on our lake, many of these green buffer zones have been lost to lawns and impervious surfaces. Our Shoreline Stewards Program aims to promote best practices for landscaping, yard design, and erosion control among lakeside homeowners and businesses. We invite you to read on to learn how to improve your shoreline to protect Lake Leelanau's water quality.

Rethink Your Lawn

Vibrant shorelines are critical to maintaining Lake Leelanau's water quality, preserving fish and wildlife habitats, and preventing erosion. Natural shorelines also provide benefits to the homeowner. Unlike lawns, a thoughtful garden of native plant species provides visual interest throughout the year and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Removing lawns at the shore decreases the noise, effort, and expense of yard maintenance and prevents geese from making a mess on your grass. A vegetative buffer zone provides privacy and serenity to your lakefront home.

Image courtesy of Mark Bugnaski Photography.
Image courtesy of Mark Bugnaski Photography.

Get Started

The Michigan Natural Shorelines Partnership created the Shoreland Stewards Program to recognize riparians who are maintaining their property in a way that reduces negative impacts that development can have on inland lakes. The 30-minute survey asks questions about management practices on your lakeside property. Your answers will result in a "starter" designation with recommendations for improvements or a bronze, silver, or gold certification with the option to post a "Shoreland Steward" sign along your lakeshore.

Rate Your Shore

A gold level property will have the most natural of conditions with high levels of natural vegetation with very little lawn. Buildings may be difficult to see from the lake. It will not have a seawall. Aquatic plants will be in the lake (where they would naturally exist), stormwater runoff is not directly getting to the lake or causing any erosion problems. Access to the lake has been minimized.

Infographic of zone-by-zone shoreline best management practices provided by the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership.
Zone-by-zone BMPs. Source: Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership.

We Are Here to Help - Schedule a Shoreline Consultation with Us!

The Lake Leelanau Lake Association’s Shoreline Ambassadors are volunteers trained to evaluate shoreline environments through the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership (MNSP). The ambassadors provide information and resources to support your care of the Lake Leelanau shoreline and can help earn a gold certification.

Why get a Lake Leelanau shoreline consultation?

  • You need information about your fertilization practices, septic system maintenance, or stormwater runoff;
  • You are interested in restoring your natural shoreline;
  • You are concerned about erosion and lake levels;
  • You want to verify that you are being a responsible shoreline steward;
  • You want to brainstorm next steps.   

What will you learn?

  • We can help you decide if your project is DIY or requires professional services and where to find them;
  • We can provide information on the benefits of native plants, where to buy them, when to plant, and how to maintain them;
  • Erosion is also a common concern. We can provide information on the different techniques for erosion control and which technique is a good fit for the site conditions; 
  • We can help riparians understand what work requires a permit from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and how to obtain a permit.

What can you expect from a complimentary Lake Leelanau shoreline consultation visit?

Neighbor-to-neighbor conversations! We will discuss and review your shoreline possibilities. LLLA Shoreline Ambassadors rely on MNSP guidelines to identify shoreline strategies that have the best odds of being sustainable for what you want to accomplish. We cite lake-quality-oriented best management practices because lake quality is the anchor of your lakefront investment. During our visit, we’ll provide reference material to help inform your next steps. LLLA will also provide a list of Certified Shoreline Contractors in the area, although we do not endorse any specific contractors in particular.

Visits are complimentary and resources are tailored to the Lake Leelanau watershed environment.

Ready to Improve Your Shore?

Schedule your Lake Leelanau shoreline consultation now by emailing [email protected]–or email to request more information.

Learn More

This five-video series explores the 4 Zones of shoreline property (Upland, Buffer, Shoreline and Lake) and teaches you how to become a Shoreland Steward.

LLLA Posts

We’ve covered many topics related to shoreline preservation in our previous posts and encourage you to revisit them here:

Not Yet Convinced to Ditch Your Lawn and Seawall?

Check out more photos of beautiful native landscaping and facts about natural shoreland:

Feature image courtesy of Mark Bugnaski Photography.

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