inland lake shoreline

Asked August 20, 2018, 1:47 PM EDT

The ground 10-15 feet from the shoreline is ALWAYS wet and soggy. Our neighbors want to put sand down but I'm concerned about the ecosystem and whether or not this would even solve our problem. Any suggestions for a solution that is affordable and that we could do ourselves would be appreciated. The area that stays wet is within the railroad ties in the attached photo. Thank you. Lisa

Clare County Michigan

1 Response

Hello Lisa,

It is not unusual for nearshore areas to be wet, especially when there isn't much of a slope away from the water, which seems to be the case here.

You are correct to be concerned about the idea to put sand down. The biggest issue with putting sand down, is that typically it gets washed into the lake from wave and ice action, and the sand smothers the lake bottom (and anything trying to live there). I see this frequently - lakefront property owners bringing in truckloads of sand to replenish their artificial beaches every year, and potentially causing damage to the ecosystem in front of their lot.

There is an excellent source of information and ideas on how to manage shoreline property in ways that allow you continued enjoyment while protecting the ecosystem - the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership (www.mishorelinepartnership.org). MSU Extension staff actively participate in this program. For example, one approach for your site might be to create a path down to the water, and encourage (or plant) native plants that thrive in damp sites to grow in the area that is now damp turfgrass (I imagine it can be challenging to mow!). The deep-rooted native plants will absorb the moisture, and help prevent shoreline erosion.

I encourage you to explore the site for ideas and resources, and to reach out to the contacts listed on that page if you have questions. Good luck!