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Shoreline Stewardship

The quality of the Spider Chain of Lakes is a reflection of how we, as property owners, take care of our land. Healthy, diverse shorelands provide some of the most effective protection for our lake. Our SCLA Education Committee is undertaking a multi-year project to educate our membership on the steps we can take to maintain or restore our properties to support a healthy lake. This focus supports a key objective in the recently approved Comprehensive Lake Management Plan.

We can each play a positive role in maintaining and improving our property’s watershed (the land area that drains to our lakes) to maintain the Spider Chain of Lakes’ water quality. In 2023, we will focus our efforts on three zones of our waterfront properties. Management activities in each of these zones affect lake health and we will be learning more about best practices for each zone.

  1. Aquatic Zone – where aquatic plants and animals live
  2. Transition Buffer Zone – also known as a shoreline buffer or vegetation protection zone
  3. Upland Buffer Zone – the landward area beyond the transition zone that often encompasses structures and driveways

Graphic reprinted from Shoreline Stabilization Project Outreach Project. Credit: Karen Engelbretson, KJE Design, LLC

SCLA will provide both digital and in-person learning opportunities including the following:

  • Monthly emails
  • Spider Lines newsletter articles
  • SCLA website with resources and updates on the project
  • Speaker series with experts, presenting both in-person and virtually, on shoreline restoration practices for each of the three zones listed above

We are excited to take this learning journey with you!

Learn more about Shoreline Stewardship on the Wisconsin Healthy Lakes website.

Best Practices to Improve Habitat and Water Quality

Wisconsin Healthy Lakes & Rivers suggests five best practices to improve habitat and water quality on shoreland properties. To learn more about each best practice, click on this link.

  1. Fish Sticks
    Create fish and wildlife habitat. Fish sticks are feeding, breeding, and nesting areas for all sorts of critters―from fish to songbirds. They can also prevent bank erosion, protecting lakeshore properties and your lake.

  2. 350 Ft2 Native Plantings
    Native plantings include grasses and wildflowers with shrubs and trees. Choose a template based on your property and interests
    from bird/butterfly habitat to a low-growing garden showcasing your lake or river view.

  3. Diversion
    Diversion practices move water to areas where it can soak into the ground instead. Depending on your property, multiple diversions may be necessary.

  4. Rock Infiltration
    Rock infiltration practices fit in nicely along roof drip lines and driveways and provide space for runoff to filter itself. They work best if your soil is sandy or loamy.

  5. Rain Garden
    Rain gardens multi-task. They improve habitat and filter runoff while providing a naturally beautiful view.


My Shoreline Week has been an SCLA event since 2013. We ask all SCLA members to pay attention to how your property may either promote a healthy lake or detract from it. A recent theme was “Trust the Buffer.” We asked all members to assess their waterfront to see if they met the 35 foot buffer setback requirement from the ordinary high-water mark. We distributed flyers at various locations to highlight this event. 

The best line of defense to preserve the quality of lakes is to maintain a 35 foot natural vegetative buffer to the shoreline.  And, in Wisconsin, it's the law:

"To protect water quality, fish and wildlife habitat and natural scenic beauty and to promote preservation and restoration of native vegetation, the county ordinance shall designate land that extends from the ordinary high water mark to a minimum of 35 feet inland as a vegetative buffer zone and prohibit removal of vegetation in the vegetative buffer zone..."                           -- Wisc. Admin Code NR 115.05  


Click on the image to access the resource

Handouts from the 6/8/23 Wine and Wisdom program on Native Plants

Native Plant Nurseries in the Area

Wildflower Woods, Washburn, WI

Deer Creek Seed Company, Ashland/Windsor, WI

Prairie Moon Nursery (not local, but has extensive catalog, great resource)

Spider Chain of Lakes Association
PO Box 1082 • Hayward, WI 54843
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