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Where the Water Meets the Land: The Importance of Shoreland Restoration

LakeA thriving plant and animal community along the water's edge contributes to the overall health of the lake ecosystem.  Native plant communities in the water and on the shoreline filter rainwater and melting snow that drain into the lake for the surrounding watershed.  When that water contains pollutants, the vegetation helps purify it.

 

For people living along relatively undisturbed shorelines, enjoying the native plants and wildlife of a lake with clean water is a daily reward for good land stewardship.  Unfortunately, lawns mowed all the way to the water's edges with no aquatic vegetation are all too often the norm.  Landscaping shoreland lots to achieve this ideal has led to a serious loss of natural shoreland habitat and deteriorating quality on thousand of lakes.

 

Many shoreland property owners now realize that fish populations declining.  They see fewer Belted Kingfishers, frogs, and wading birds along the shore.  They complain about Canada Geese and muskrats as nuisances.  They see more bank erosion, more shoreline heaving, huge trees along the shoreline starting to lean towards their house, and generally less and less of what attracted them to their shoreland property originally.  They spend more time mowing their lawn, painting their shutters, and fighting nature, than they spend fishing.  They have unknowingly created a shoreland environment that is ecologically dysfunctional.

Buffer ZoneHappily, there is an easy solution to this complicated and disheartening problem. Through establishing a natural vegetation buffer zone around the lake we can combat these issues. A buffer zone is a natural strip of vegetation along at least 75% of a property's frontage that extends 50 feet onto the land. These buffers include native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, shoreline plants, vines, sedges, grasses, and emergent and submersed aquatic vegetation.  With a buffer zone, the shoreland once again becomes re-established to its natural settings and regains its true value

 

 

Creating a Shorline Restoration Plan

While restoring your shore some of the most important things to consider are soil type, soil moisture, sun exposure, and the slope of the Bufferland.  Natural factors WILL dictate what grows on your property, taking that into account is important for a successful restoration. By clicking on the link below you can create a Shoreland Restoration Plan that suits the unique attributes of your property.


Click here to customize your Shoreland Restoration Plan

 

Finding Native Plants

There are many wonderful native species of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, shoreline plants, vines, grasses, sedges, and emergent and Flowersubmersed aquatic vegetation that are available for the public to buy.  To alleviate the headaches associated with finding nurseries and greenhouses that sell the native plants that you are looking for, we have created a listing of growers that sell native plants.  Calling ahead and ordering earlier in the year are recommended.  Furthermore, it is important to prepare you site for planting before you purchase the plants.


 Click for Information on Local Greenhouses and Nurseries

 

Planting Tips

Planting

Detailed instructions for the installation of plants and seeds can be obtained from the nursery where the plants are purchased, but a few important points are worth mentioning to help you establish shoreland plants successfully.  For more information on planting tips, click on the link below.

Click Here for Planting Tips

 

 

 

Site Preparation and Maintenance

Eliminating Invasive Weeds:

The essential first step in establishing native plantings is to eliminate competition from lawn grasses, sod, and weeds.  There are several Eliminate Weedsways to remove invasive plants. Pulling them out by hand and removing the root system is the best way to handle problem plants on your property. Using chemicals is another way but is not suggested. If the wrong chemicals are used it could kill off native plants or could even runoff into the lake and cause water quality issues. If you use chemicals make sure they are applied correctly and are safe for the lake ecosystem. The links below will direct you to lists of common terrestrial and aquatic invasive plants that may be a nuisance around your lake property.

Click Here for the Shoreland Invasive Plant List

Click Here for the Aquatic Invasive Plant List

Soil Preparation

Beyond eliminating lawn grasses, sod, and invasive plants, soil preparation may be required for the installation of live native plants.  The Soil Preparationincorporation of soil amendments such as black dirt, peat moss, and fertilizer may not be necessary but could increase the overall success of establishing your plants. Be careful not to use more amendments than what is needed. Enriching the soil to much with nutrients can actually be detrimental to the plants. Also the nutrients in these amendments can runoff into the water and thereby cause future problems.  We recommend using natural amendments such as compost or peat most for planting along the shore.

Mulching:

The prevention of soil erosion in order to protect water quality is a prime benefit of re-vegetating shorelands with native plants.  Mulch not only prevents soil erosion, but also benefits the plantings by controlling weeds and holding moisture in the soil.  Place mulch all throughout your planting beds but make sure to leave small shape around each planted tree or shrub. We recommend a 1 ½ inch space around each tree or shrub planted so that the root roller doesn’t get suffocated.

Supplemental Plantings and Maintenance:

Inevitably, in any planting, a few plants will not live through the first year.  It is important to replant as quickly as possible if plants die off so Flowerserosion doesn’t take place in the bare location.  Use this as an opportunity to plant more of the native species that were especially successful, or use it as a chance to try a few new ones.  A continuous vegetative cover is the goal.

Why Plant Natural Species?

It is important for shoreland property owners to understand why their shoreland restoration has to be done with all native plants.  One of the most important things to consider is the fact that our native shoreland plants have evolved in Wisconsin, and therefore or more hearty than exotic species of plants that evolved elsewhere.  Another reason that the plantings have to be native is because certain species of exotic plants can be very invasive.  When an invasive plant is introduced into an ecosystem, it can dominate native plants to the point where it kills them all off.  Wisconsin evolved with the native plants, and therefore are dependent upon them. 

 

Attracting and Maintaining Wildlife

BluegillHabitat created by aquatic plants provides food and shelter for both fry and predatory fish.  Invertebrates living on or beneath plants are a primary food source for pan fish.  Bass and bluegills use shallow plant beds for spawning.  Northern pike also seek shoreline vegetation for spawning and hunting.  
The significance of aquatic plants to waterfowl is often underestimated.  Waterfowl and shoreland birds also eat the invertebrates that live on these plants. Shoreland emergent aquatic vegetation also provides camouflage and protection from wave action for young waterfowl.  Their buoyant leaves also make ideal nesting material.  Common loons use available plant matter to build their mounded nests on the shoreline.

Duck

To learn more information about planting emergent and submerged aquatic plants please contact your local DNR aquatics specialist. They will be able to offer guidance for plantings and techniques to maintain a healthy plant transition from land to water. Click on the link below for more plants that attract wildlife.

Click Here for Information on Plants that Attract Fish and Game

 

 

 

Restoring Your Shore for Birds & Butterflies:

One of the wonderful benefits of restoring shoreline habitat is attracting all of the birds and butterflies. To create an environment friendly to birds on your shoreland property, you are going to have to understand a certain amount about their lifecycles.  Butterflies are even more particular then birds are. In many species of butterflies, the larva requires a far different plants then do the adults. Therefore, to create an environment friendly to a certain species of butterfly, the proper plant foods must be available for all stage of life. 
Butterflies

If you would like to create your Shoreland Restoration Plan around either your favorite species of bird, butterfly, or both, simply click on the appropriate link below.  This will bring you to a listing of the majority of birds and butterflies in Langlade County.  This listing will tell you everything about the lifecycle of your favorite bird or butterfly, and more importantly, what should be planting on your shoreland property to create appropriate habitat for them. 

Click Here For Information on Landscaping for Birds

Click Here For Information on Landscaping for Butterflies

 

 

 

Controlling Deer Browse

DeerWhite-tailed deer may try to eat your shoreland restoration out of house and home. If deer are a nuisance animal in your shoreland lot then we suggest planting species of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, vines, grasses, and sedges that White-tailed deer find unpalatable. 

Click Here for Information on Deer Resistant Plants

 

 

Langlade County Demostration Sites

Throughout the Langlade County there are four public sites along certain lakes and rivers where anyone can visit to see for themselves a restored buffer.  These demonstration sites are filled with native trees, shrubs, grasses and many other elements which make up a healthy shoreland buffer. Please visit these sites if you are unaware on how a finished restoration could look like. Click on the link after the pictures for the locations of site.

Post Lake Dam Before Post Lake Dam After

 

 

 

Post Lake Dam

Before and After

Otter Lake Before Otter Lake After

 

 

 

 

 

Otter Lake

Before and After

Highway C and 45Highway C and 45

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highway C & 45

Before and After

Old Langlade Ranger StationOld Langlade Ranger Station

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Langlade Ranger Station

Before and After

 

 

 

 

 

Click Here for Demo Site Locations

The Langlade County Land Records and Regulations Department encourages you to email your comments on what worked on your shoreland restoration site and what did or did not work.  It will be an invaluable tool for future property owners who have to restore their shoreline.  If you have any questions for comments relating the shoreland feel free to contact Langlade County’s Shoreland Protection Specialist at the Department of Land Records and Regulations. (715) 627-6206.

Disclaimer
Although the Langlade County Land Records and Regulations Department (LRRD) makes every attempt to ensure that the information contained in its databases is correct, it assumes no responsibility for inaccuracies or omissions in these data sets. Neither the LRRD nor any of its employees shall be held liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information described and/or contained herein and assumes no responsibility for anyone's uses of the information. The LRRD will not be held responsible for any consequence of the use or misuse of these data by any individual or organization. Changes may be periodically made to the information herein; these changes may or may not be incorporated in any new version of the publications.

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The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Herbarium
Dr. Robert W. Freckmann, Dr. Emmit J. Judziewicz, and all of the past, present, and future students of Vascular Plant Taxonomy,
Aquatic Vascular Plant Taxonomy,  and Plant Physiology.
http://wisplants.uwsp.edu

Hanson's Garden Village and Nursery
    2660 County Hwy. G
    Rhinelander, WI 54501
    (715) 365-2929
hansonbs@newnorth.net

The Prairie Nursery
PO Box 306
Westfield, Wisconsin, 53964
1-800-476-9463
www.prairienursery.com

J & J Tranzplant Aquatic Nursery
PO Box 227
Wild Rose, Wisconsin  54984-0227
1-800-622-5055
www.tranzplant.com

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
www.dnr.state.wi.us

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
www.dnr.state.mn.us

Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality
Minnesota DNR Non-game Wildlife Program

Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to Your Backyard
Sally Roth: A Rodale Organic Gardening Book
www.organicgardening.com

Smithsonian Birds of North America
Fred J. Alsop III: DK Publishing
www.dk.com

Through the Looking Glass: A Field Guide to Aquatic Plants
Susan Borman, Robert Korth, Jo Temte
DNR Publication #FH-207-97

The Aldo Leopold Foundation
www.aldoleopold.org

Plant Identification Terminology: An Illustrated Glossary
James G. Harris & Melinda Woolf Harris
Spring Lake Publishing

The Essential Aldo Leopold: Quotations and Commentaries
Edited by Curt Meine & Richard L. Knight
University of Wisconsin Press

Michigan Trees
Burton V Barnes & Warren H. Wagner Jr.
The University of Michigan Press

Jung's Seed Company
www.jungseed.com

Canoe Country Flora: Plants and Trees of the North Woods and Boundary Waters
Mark Stensaas & Jeff Sonstegard
Pfeifer-Hamilton Publishers

Disclaimer

Although the Langlade County Land Records and Regulations Department (LRRD) makes every attempt to ensure that the information contained in its databases is correct, it assumes no responsibility for inaccuracies or omissions in these data sets. Neither the LRRD nor any of its employees shall be held liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information described and/or contained herein and assumes no responsibility for anyone's uses of the information. The LRRD will not be held responsible for any consequence of the use or misuse of these data by any individual or organization. Changes may be periodically made to the information herein; these changes may or may not be incorporated in any new version of the publications.