Deer Lake Score the Shore Imageby  Marcy Knoll Wilmes, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Water Resources Division

Lake residents across the state are taking note of the importance of healthy shoreline habitat by signing up to Score the Shore of their inland lake. The Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps; https://micorps.net) statewide volunteer monitoring program recently added this parameter for lake associations, lake residents, and local governments to protect high quality shorelines and to be aware of degraded shorelines that could benefit from improvements. The process starts by taking an aerial map of your lake and dividing it into 1000 foot sections. Volunteers assess each section separately to provide a section score, and at the end, a whole lake score is defined on a 0-100 scale.

While completing the Score the Shore procedure, volunteers look at the number of docks and homes, the percent of aquatic vegetation, terrestrial vegetation, and erosion control practices. Higher scores are calculated in sections with larger percentages of submerged or emergent vegetation as well as shoreline vegetation since these are important habitat for fish, birds, amphibians, and other animals. In addition, less impervious surfaces and wider vegetation buffers between maintained lawns and the water’s edge help preserve water quality by limiting erosion and slowing rain runoff.

If you are interested in becoming a MiCorps volunteer and signing up for Score the Shore in 2018, please review our website at https://micorps.net/lake-monitoring/become-a-volunteer/ or contact Jean Roth at 989-257-3715.

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