Probably the single most helpful thing we can all do to help keep surface waters clean is the addition of a native vegetative buffer along the lakeshore. Buffers help filter out and trap pollutants like fertilizers, herbicides and pet waste before they reach the water. In addition, the deep roots from native buffer plants help hold the soil at the shore in place so it does not erode into the lake.
Native Vegetative Shoreline Buffer
The upper parts of native buffer plants have their importance, too, as they provide for the many animals who make their homes near the water. It is estimated that approximately 90 percent of all animals spend all or part of their life cycle at the lakeshore. Native shoreline buffers provide shelter from the elements, provide a place to build a nest, provide a place to gather food and a place to hide from predators.
Buffers can be as simple as leaving a strip of unmowed grass along the shore or they can be more involved by planting a number of different native plant varieties. Whether you just leave the grass grow or install a native plant buffer, your lake water clarity and quality will benefit. It is certainly a step in the right direction.