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Natural Shoreline Restoration

Natural Shoreline Restoration


       Recently I was asked about deteriorating shoreline on a lakefront property. Natural shorelines whether it be the ocean or a simple farm pond seem hard for us humans to keep exactly where we want them. Erosion can be caused by many things from wave movement to animal invasion. Often shoreline problems are caused by what we fell are solutions though.


From the IWGS Chicago Botanical Tour, this past summer we learned much from the shoreline redevelopment project of the shorelines of the lakes in the Chicago Botanical property. In one case they discovered former steel piling meant to maintain the shoreline created a horrible shock-wave from very small waves against the shoreline which lead to an area in front of the pilings where no plants could grow or thrive. Many factors including slope/gradient well into the water and above the water line affect plants growth. A strong healthy planted area into and above the water into the flood plain are required for a healthy shoreline that will hold stable and not move or erode. In Chicago the old steel pilings have been removed and the steep gradient was replaced with a proper contour. A geocell shorelines was put in place that would give dozens of species of properly planted species at multiple depths hold strong and begin to grow as they refilled the top of the lake.


Old thought vs new planning

New correct planting (Above) vs Old improper (below)


old piling shorelines create desaster, prevent plant growth

old piling shorelines create disaster, prevent plant growth




Chicago restoration pics fron symposium 2009

Chicago restoration pics fron symposium 2009

The shores will now be able to handles small swells, high and low water (floods) without worry of erosion and also look much nicer than pilings. 


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