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A healthy shoreline helps to preserve a healthy lake. The CLWA has long advocated lakeside management practices that minimize erosion, inhibit the spread of invasive species, and prevent the introduction of pollutants. The ideal approach preserves aquatic habitats, water quality and natural scenery, while accommodating swimming, docking and other uses that are important to landowners’ enjoyment of the lake.
The Betise River/Crystal Lake Watershed Management Plan has identified several public access points on Crystal Lake that are problematic – with severe erosion and polluting run-off – and targeted for future remediation. But most of the shoreline and adjacent land is in private hands. And while property owners overwhelmingly have indicated that they wish to preserve water quality, most also express their need for more information to guide their actions.
In 2015 CLWA joined with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership to create an on-line education and recognition program for lakeshore property owners, “Michigan Shoreland Stewards.” This tool provides a 15-30 minute survey for users to assess their property, along with tips and information on best management practices that help them both enjoy and protect the water. While the program emphasizes the benefits of “natural” shoreline and buffer zone, it recognizes that a return to that state is in many cases no longer reasonable in a developed area.
When completed, the Shoreland Stewards assessment provides a score and suggestions for improving the specific conditions – those who meet the criteria receive a certificate as a Shoreland Steward.
CLWA also encourages professional companies working in the shoreland area to use green landscaping technologies and bio-engineered erosion control, in accordance with the standards set by the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership.