Lake Insights from New England

Lake Insights from New England

My wife, Geri, and I are back from giving talks to lake association meetings and conventions in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.  Lakes in New England face the same challenges we do back here in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, and lake associations in the east are working hard to protect their lakes.

Presentations at breakout sessions at the Maine conventions were particularly insightful. 

One Maine study compared the impact well buffered shores had on a lake contrasted with lawns running to the water’s edge.  Results were stark.

Buffered shorelines:

  • Resist erosion
  • Reduce impact of wave energy on shores
  • Reduce phosphorous loading into a lake
  • Reduce sediment loading into a lake
  • Provide important habitat for fish
  • Provide basking sites for turtles
  • Provide shade reducing fish vulnerability to avian predators

Unbuffered shorelines do none of the above.

A question: Which plant has caused the greatest trouble for our lakes?  It’s Kentucky blue grass. Surprised?

What we do or don’t do at the shore has huge consequences for our lakes.

Let’s not kid ourselves.  Our lakes, fellow home and lakeshore cabin owners, and our grandkids all pay the price for lawns-to-the-water’s-edge landscaping.

I will describe how Maine is working to prevent aquatic invasive species from getting a foot-hold in Maine lakes in a future post.  Other states could benefit from their approach.

Darby Nelson

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