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So many of us live in Wisconsin’s Northwoods or Michigan’s Upper Peninsula because we love what surrounds us every day. We love the clear water, the clean air, and the lush forests. WXPR’s environmental reporting as part of our expanded series, The Stream, focuses on the natural world around us. The Stream is now about more than just water: it brings you stories of efforts to conserve our wild lands and lakes, scientific studies of animal and plant life, and potential threats to our environment. Hear The Stream on Thursdays on WXPR and access episodes any time online.

Anti-Erosion Guide Coming Soon for Lakefront Property Owners

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Later this summer, conservationists in Wisconsin will introduce a new tool to help lakefront property owners prevent erosion on their shorelines.

Shoreline erosion is bad for water quality in Northwoods lakes, not to mention eating away at the property of people who live there.

Conservationists are putting the finishing touches on a new tool to help property owners reduce erosion.

“The colleague of mine asked, hey does anyone have a pamphlet, something I can show people when I’m talking about different practices? Pictures, so they can visualize it, the landowners? Of course, we all said, nope, we don’t have one, but we really want one, and that started off a project to create a pamphlet or a resource,” said Vilas County conservationist Quita Sheehan.

The pamphlet first gives people a guideline for scoring the vulnerability their shoreline to erosion.

“One is figuring out what’s going on on your shoreline. This part would be for landowners who might want to look at shoreline before bringing in a county conservationist to see if there is something that they need to be doing or should be doing,” Sheehan said.

The guide directs people to do simple measurements on several factors that can impact erosion risk.

“Looking at the wave energy hitting the shoreline, what kind of aquatic vegetation you might have, what your shoreline vegetation would be, taking into account slope, that’s pretty important and what impact that might have on potential for erosion,” she said.

Soil type and the amount of impervious surfaces also play a major role.

The pamphlet then gives a suggested erosion protection solution, complete with pictures.

“These images, they’re all taken from NRCS, or Natural Resource Conservation Standards, just to give people an idea of exactly what it’s going to look like, how things are installed,” Sheehan said.

Those solutions range from a no-mow suggestion to installing riprap and bioengineering.

The pamphlet will be available in your county conservation office and online around the beginning of September.

Ben worked as the Special Topics Correspondent at WXPR from September 2019 until November 2021. He then contributed with periodic stories until 2024. During his full-time employment, his main focus was reporting on environment and natural resources issues in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula as part of The Stream, a weekly series.
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