In Homage to the Shore
For most of us, our first encounter with a lake happened at the shore. Waves and sand, toes tickled by the cool water, and fascinating flotsam and jetsam scattered from afar stimulate our young brains as we first soaked in these strange surroundings, LAKE. Only there can we truly feel an intimate relationship with lake.
But a shore is so much more than the place a lake meets the land. Upwards of 90 percent of the life forms in our lakes inhabit the shallow places by the shore. Are you surprised?
A natural shore shelters rich and diverse habitats that sustain not only the rich diversity of the life along shore but the entire lake system.
And it all begins with plants. Let me present my case:
Why aquatic plants matter—a partial list
- Stabilize bottom sediments with their roots, thereby reducing riling of sediments
- Provide food and shelter for many fish species
- Produce oxygen through photosynthesis so essential to life forms that live in the shallows
- Provide refuge for near shore animals (think ducklings).
- Plants that are native can limit growth of non-native invasive plants
Impressed? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
Look for future blog posts about these so-called aquatic “weeds”—what a misnomer!