replanting a bioswale

Asked July 27, 2020, 11:03 PM EDT

Hello, I live in a lake community with a green belt surrounding most of the lake. We have recently began experiencing problems with excessive amounts of nitrogen leaching into the lake. Our HOA will not ban residents from fertilizing, but there is an old bioswale that was never planted properly. I am trying to find info on what plants to populate it with, but not having any luck. It is built along a shaded hill that receives runoff from one of the neighborhood roads. I am wondering if you can offer any guidance as to what to plant and where I can get them

Livingston County Michigan

1 Response

Hello and thank you for your inquiry.

One excellent source of information (educational and technical resources as well as sources for help) is the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership. You can find their web site here:

At the MNSP web site, you can also find a plant list suitable for the shoreline area and sources from which you can obtain suitable native plants:

Also, I wasn't sure if you were looking to do this work yourself or if you might also be looking to find a contractor that could do this work for you, since it does sound like some work needs to be done before the bioswale is not currently working the way it was originally designed. The MNSP has a training program for professionals who work at the water's edge to design, install and maintain natural shoreline projects, and there is a list of these Natural Shoreline Professionals and their companies available here:

Keep in mind that when working at the water's edge, a permit from Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Environment. Details are here:

There is a great opportunity to learn that is ocming up... the Michigan Inland Lakes Convention, Sept. 16-18, 2020. This 3 day event is chocked full of learning, including about natural shorelines. You can find more information here:

Finally, you may be interested in the Michigan Shoreland Stewards Program. This is an online assessment that you can do at your own page to determine how you are doing as far as protecting your shoreline. It can also give you ideas for what you might be able to do-- new things, or how you can modify what you are doing now, to help protect your lake:

Feel free also to connect with Erick Elgin (Vice-Chair) and Julia Kirkwood (Chair) for additional information if needed:

Hope this information is helpful!