WW-06946 Reviewed 2008
Developing Shoreland Landscapes and Construction Activities
Shoreland Best Management Practices
Number 6 of 18 in the Series
Best Management Practices (BMPs) are actions you can take to reduce your impact on the environment. BMPs have been described for agriculture, forest management, and construction. This fact sheet describes BMPs you can adopt on your shoreland property to help protect and preserve water quality. In many cases, the best management for shorelands may be retaining the natural characteristics of your property.
Whether you are landscaping your property, building a cabin, or designing a large resort, each land parcel has limitations for development. Limitations may include the type of soil, steep slopes, native vegetation, and other landscape features.
Plants and trees help to hold the soil and prevent erosion, especially on steep slopes. Removing them to establish a lawn increases the chance for soil erosion. Soil erosion can lead to structural damage, reduce soil fertility, and fill in road ditches. It harms your river or lake by causing excess sedimentation, killing aquatic bottom life, and disrupting spawning. The sediment, with accompanying nutrients, may lead to algal blooms, decreased lake depth, and reduced aesthetic appeal. All of these potential problems are expensive to correct and, more importantly, can be avoided by proper water and landuse practices.
|Use existing features of your landscape in creating your plan. You can prevent problems by working "with the land" rather than against it.|
The most important steps in getting started are to draw a detailed map of your property (see Figure 1 as an example) and to check with your planning and zoning office for local requirements. On the map, take care to accurately note these important features:
Next consider your long-term objectives for the property:
These and many more questions should be explored, including considering the potential uses for your property.
The site plan should be based on your long-term objectives and the suitability of the land for these uses, with precautions taken to prevent soil erosion and water pollution. With these considerations in mind, your site plan will optimize the natural beauty and attributes of your property. The site plan can be a one year, ten year, or a twenty-five year plan, depending on your resources and time. But remember, the longer you wait, the more difficult and costly it will become to fix erosion problems.
If you have the freedom to arrange your buildings and grounds, you can reduce water runoff problems in several ways. Locate driveways, walks, and yard and garden edges to follow level contours and gentle slopes. Do not lead water directly downhill. This gives it maximum speed and cutting power for erosion. Long, steep slopes have the greatest erosion potential. Consider putting small dams at intervals in ditches to slow runoff water and trap sediment. Cross-slope designs are better than up-and-down-hill ones.
The site plan you develop is critical. Site your septic system and water well in suitable areas before you finalize building locations and landscaping plans.
|Check these off as you draw them on the plan:|
_____contour elevations of your property (OR note steep slopes and flat areas)
_____areas where you will be excavating and filling soil types (e.g., clay, sandy loam)
_____setback distances between shoreline and structures
_____elevations of important features such as buildings, drainage outlets, or wetlands
_____drainage patterns (streams or drainageways)
_____location of electric, gas, water, or sewer utilities
_____areas needing protection to prevent erosion such as unstable slopes and steep embankments
_____vegetation (to be removed, added, or left as is)
_____ordinary high water level of lake or river
_____scale (usually number of feet per inch)
_____north directional arrow
Big, old dead trees, brushpiles, and unmowed grass are "home" for a wide variety of wildlife. Save these whenever possible.
Use vegetation to help direct people away from sensitive areas, such as steep slopes.
Figure 1: A landscaping plan should include roads, buildings, topography and slope, shoreline, and vegetation.
|Remember to maintain an adequate turnaround area near your home for emergency vehicle access.|
Before beginning any landscaping or construction, check with your local zoning department for information on shoreland requirements including setbacks, permits, and building codes. Most ordinances restrict the total surface area that may be covered with impermeable materials. These include driveways, roofs, and patios.
This fact sheet is one of a series designed to assist shoreland property owners in protecting and preserving water quality. The series includes:
This series of fact sheets is a cooperative effort of the following agencies:
University of Minnesota Extension Service, University of Minnesota
College of Natural Resources, University of Minnesota
Water Plan Coordinators of the Arrowhead counties
Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources
Minnesota Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife,
Division of Waters, Division of Forestry
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Minnesota Sea Grant Extension Program
Mississippi Headwaters Board
St. Louis County Health Department, Environmental Services Division
Soil and Water Conservation Districts of the Arrowhead counties
Natural Resources Conservation Services
Environmental Protection Agency
Western Lake Superior Sanitary District
These publications may be photocopied for local distribution. The addition of commercial names, products, or identifiers is not permitted. please do not add or delete any text material without contacting:
You may add information about contact persons or regulations specific to your county, region, or lake association.
University of Minnesota Extension Store St Paul, MN 55108-6069 612-625-8173
Produced by the Arrowhead Water Quality Team, a cooperative effort of Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis counties and state and federal agencies. All publicly funded agencies involved are committed to equal opportunity education, service, and employment.
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, this material is available in alternative formats upon request. Please contact your University of Minnesota Extension office or the Extension Store at (800) 876-8636.