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Native Shoreline Buffers

Shoreline projects include lakeshores, ponds and streambanks. These are typically areas of high wildlife use and can play an important role for water quality improvement and slope stability.

THE NATIVE BUFFER PROGRAM is a voluntary program that encourages the creation of high quality shoreland and streambank buffers that protect water quality within the Mississippi River Watershed.  A shoreland buffer is a naturally vegetated plot of land, located between the water’s edge and the land uphill.  A shoreland buffer can be composed of a mix of native aquatic plants, grasses, wildflowers and/or shrubs and trees.  Basically, it is undisturbed land at your shoreline; this means that your lakeshore would not be mowed or manicured into a sand beach.


SHORELAND BUFFERS provide benefits to people, the environment, wildlife, and aquatic life.  Restored vegetation at the lake’s edge restores the function of the ecosystem which originally protected the lake before it was altered by humans.  Some of the benefits of a buffer include: filtering of pollutants such as sediment and phosphorous out of runoff from uphill land uses, prevent shoreline erosion by holding soil in place (native plants have deep root systems), provide habitat for wildlife, deter geese from congregating on the lakeshore, and they allow for more leisure time to relax and enjoy the nature of life at the lakeshore.

Morrison SWCD has no current funding available to assist Mississippi River watershed residents with buffer design and cost-share of up to 75% of the total project cost.  However, the funding is limited and available on a first come-first serve basis.

Native Buffer Program contracts are for 15 years from the date the agreement is signed.  Planting must be done with local eco-type seed with a goal of 25 species per site.  For buffer cost-share very minimal grading is allowed.  All projects are approved for cost-share by the Morrison SWCD Board of Supervisors and cost-share reimbursements are provided after the project is complete.

If you’re interested, the SWCD could also work with your engineer on the site layout and provide the technical assistance needed to qualify for the program.

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