Saturday was a shoreline restoration day at a Tall Pines Conservancy preserve on North Lake. It is a small preserve (under an acre) but has a large importance. This is due to the ephemeral pond ( dries up mid-late summer) that supports a wide diversity of insects and amphibians. This preserve has been spared the fate of most other lots in the area and was not filled 10 or more feet to allow building. Laudato Si’ Project brought MUHS students this past winter to remove buckthorn that had invaded the preserve (pictured below).
The focus on Saturday was restoring the 65 feet of shoreline on North Lake. Much of the shoreline was being eroded and because of past buckthorn invasion, native plants were not present to hold the soil. To accomplish this bank stabilization, Herb from Sandy Bottom Nursery of Delefield brought in “bio-logs” which are made from coconut husk. These 10 foot logs hold the shoreline in place while the plants planted into them establish. The bio-logs also wick moisture up into the roots while the plants are young. This use of bio-logs is a great alternative to traditional rip-rap used on many shorelines. Restrictions on use of rip-rap has been tightened due to its inability to reduce lawn fertilizer runoff and its lack of habitat for young fish and amphibians. These two issues exacerbate the need for lake weed cutting and fish stocking.
Arrowhead High School student Mackenzie and Tall Pines Conservancy biologist, Jill Bedford, were also on hand to help complete the project. Because the shoreline was very wet, native species were selected to handle those moisture conditions. Sunlight also varied, with some places being in full sun while others being in complete shade. The species chosen were several types of sedges, rush, and iris. Also planted behind the bio-logs were dogwoods, lobelia, and aster. The bio-logs will decompose over a few years and by that time the shoreline will be a matrix of plants and roots- reducing soil erosion while provided vital shoreline habitat for fish, amphibians, and insects.