By Julia Kirkwood, EGLE Nonpoint Source Program and
the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership

Bioengineering is an all-natural solution that uses plants, appropriately sized rocks, and woody structure to protect shorelines from erosion. These practices are being used on small, medium, and large lakes with low to high energy waves. Each site comes with a lot of “depends” and a solution must be tailored to each individual site though sometimes there are sites where the most natural solutions just can’t work.
One of the questions that we get asked the most is do you have any pictures or examples of different types of bioengineering solutions? While we do have pictures of our demonstration sites on the MNSP website used for our Certified Natural Shoreline Professional Training they are not always the best of examples for homeowners. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has developed a variety of new resources to assist individuals who want to improve their shoreline and learn more about bioengineering and other inland lake best management practices (BMP). One of which is an easily accessible site that is an Arc GIS Story map that highlights many different types of projects on lakefront properties.

Arc GIS Story Map

Pictures, plans, and information highlighting a variety of bioengineering projects are all included, from low to high energy sites and seawall replacements.
Shoreline Story Maps

Fact Sheets & Sample Designs

Use these new documents to find a solution for your shoreline.
Shoreline Protection

Native Plants

Native plants are always part of a natural shoreline erosion control solution. A mix of trees, shrubs, sedges and flowers is typically recommended to reestablish the root structure needed to provide the most resiliency against erosive forces. But which ones are best for your shoreline? The MNSP has some recommended plant lists available to choose from – though there are other native plants that can be used. You can also find links to sources of Michigan Native plant growers too!
Plants for Shorelines

Thick ‘rock snot’ continues to be found in Michigan rivers
Our Partners UP North