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Solutions to mild erosion: Planting & Filter Zones

The goal for mild erosion is to stop future erosion, not repair past damage. The three-step erosion protection plan is simple. 

  1. Benchmark the current shore location

  2. Plant aquatic plants

  3. Establish a filter zone


Benchmark evaluation

This is a simple, but time-consuming inspection that:

  • documents the current condition

  • prioritizes potential problem locations

  • establishes reliable benchmarks to measure future erosion

This starting point facilitates immediate comparison of shorelines around all the lake in your community.  Installing permanent stakes provide an accurate, measurable point to determine if each area is stable or continuing to erode during the following year. The lake is reinspected in 6-12 months. Photo documentation & measurements reveal which areas of the lake are eroding & which are not & how much erosion occurred since the monitoring stakes were installed. 

This is a particularly important step in communities with many lakes. It provides objective, scientific measurements to help the board to prioritize lake projects & allocate funding. It gives the board the ability to plan thoughtfully rather than react to the loudest complainers. The report gives the board the decision-making transparency that is so helpful in gaining community support. 


Aquatic plants

Mother Nature loves her plants. Most lakes, especially in Florida, are surrounded with plants. The shallow water 0-3 feet deep is the perfect place for aquatic plants. These could be tiny underwater plants or giant Cypress trees. An average, healthy lake is 30% covered with aquatic plants. The shallow water area is particularly important habitat for dragon flies, damsel flies, frogs, turtles & birds. 

It’s also important for erosion protection. The stems of shoreline plants buffer the sandy soil from continual waves. Even water lily leaves stop the waves. The solution is to mimic Mother Nature.


Lakes with turf to the water are particularly prone to erosion. This phot was taken during very high water in the summer. Erosion is not visible.


This shoreline was eroding. The photo was taken during low-water level (dry season). These plants protect the shore from the waves during low & high-water times of year.  


Filter zone / Buffer Zone / No-mow Zone

The name of this erosion prevention zone changes from county to county. It is a 2 – 6-foot-wide ring around the lake that is not weed-whacked or mowed.


The filter zone can be pruned, as above, to maintain a "cared for" look while keeping the mowers away from the edge. With the design above, most people don’t notice that the filter zone is there.


This option should not increase landscape maintenance cost. Landscapers exchange "pruning" the top of the filter zone (about 14 times a year) for weed-whacking (40 times a year). Beautiful Ponds can do this pruning work, but most of the time it’s more cost effective for your landscaper to do it. 


The filter zone has several benefits.

  • It intercepts fertilizer that washes down the slope during heavy rains. 

  • It keeps the heavy mowers away from the shore, reducing soil vibration.

  • It keeps the weed-whackers away from the shore, keeping grass clippings out of the lake.

  • Taller grass leaves strengthen the root system of the grasses, holding soil in place. Weed whacking leads to weak roots. Weak roots lead to more erosion. 


Aquatic planting & filter zones


This is the effective one-two punch to stop erosion. It protects the shore from lake-side waves & the land-side mower & weed-whacking damage.


There are more factors affecting erosion & erosion prevention. This article is simply an introduction to a topic that affects many communities. Beautiful Ponds has successfully won grants for this type of projects. Contact us for more information.

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