Thanks to MyNorth for this:
From deep-rooted plants to no-mow zones, learn the best ways to protect the pristine conditions of one of the region’s favorite lakes.
This is the official press release brought to you by Torch Conservation Center and MyNorth Media.
Protecting our lakes does not need to be expensive, time-consuming or high maintenance. In truth, the healthiest landscaping for properties near the water is what already exists naturally: deep-rooted plants and trees near the shore to prevent erosion and trap excess nutrients from entering the lake ecosystem.
Leaving a ‘No Mow Zone‘ near the water allows grass to grow high between your lawn and the lake. This helps trap any nutrients in runoff from sewage tank leakages or excess fertilizers. The “No Mow Zone” should run between five and ten feet inland from the lake’s edge, but the larger the zone, the better!
Planting trees or a ‘buffer garden’ near the water is even more helpful. The deep roots of trees and native plants are extremely effective in creating a buffer between your yard and the clean, clear water of the lake.
Torch Lake homeowners Lyn and Gary Petty are staunch supporters of healthy shore practices and hope more people will begin implementing these practices. “The biggest thing we do is just leaving [the shore] alone,” said Lyn Petty, “Focus on putting in native plants that don’t require much care, and they can do very well.”
An added benefit of planting deep-rooted plants and trees is stopping the erosion of the shore. Many properties suffer from steep slopes down to the beach, which are eroded by waves, snow and ice in the winter and the more frequent hard rainstorm. Roots from trees and plants hold onto the dirt and sand, preventing it from moving down into the lake.
We turn to northern Michigan lakes for adventure, vacation and, oftentimes, our drinking water. They are an integral part of our environment. To continue to enjoy them, we must prioritize their wellbeing through the restoration of the shore and protection from excess nutrients that can cause algal growth in the lake.
“If you want to learn about it, visit the Torch Conservation Center’s website and connect with Antrim Conservation District. They are so involved in establishing rain gardens, and you can access great resources there. Work with landscape designers who are aware of native planting and what we need on the shoreline—choose the people who are really doing it,” Lyn Petty said.
Three Lakes Association, Torch Lake Protection Alliance and Torch Conservation Center have partnered to share these best practices with property owners on Torch Lake, Clam Lake, Grass River and Lake Bellaire. For more information and support with restoring the shore on your property, visit ConserveTorch.org.