Lake Shorelines and Beach Tilling

Man-made sandy beaches are desirable by many homeowners, but will harm the lake and it’s wildlife. Consider leaving the majority of your shoreline natural to provide habitat for wildlife wildlife and to help with erosion control, rather than tilling the entire stretch of your lake shore property

“Recent studies have shown how critical shoreline habitats are to the health of the entire lake. If you want great fishing you need to protect the shoreline.” -Rebecca A. Humphries, Former DNRE Director

Native Plants

  • Plants that grow naturally in the region and are best suited for the environmental conditions on the lake shore

  • Deep, fibrous roots help keep soil in place thus decreasing loss of shoreline footage. Shoreline plants also help absorb wave and ice energy which will protect the lake bottom plants and animals.

  • Requires little supplemental care (i.e. watering, mowing, etc.)​

  • Trees and shrubs will help buffer the noise of lake activities

  • Include flowers and grasses that support native wildlife, insects, and amphibians


  • Tilling a sand beach increases the erosion of your shoreline and increases sediment in the lake

  • Increased sand in the lake harms and even kills the aquatic life that breaths with gills (such as fish and many aquatic insects that fish eat) and can smother fish and amphibian eggs

  • Beach tilling and adding sand requires continuous care and expense


  • Short grass lawns invite Canadian geese

  • Lawn (turf) grass has a shallow root system that provides almost no soil stabilization

  • Fertilizers used on shoreline lawns can run off into the lake and cause an increase to harmful nutrients in the lake which will result in harmful algae growth ​

  • Lawns require continuous care through mowing, watering, and fertilizing


  • Create a major obstacle for shoreline mammals that need land for part of their life-cycle (turtles lay their eggs on land)

  • Lead to the scouring of the lake bottom- wave energy cannot be absorbed by a solid wall and is directed downward to the lake bottom

Helpful Shoreline Resources

Learn About The Michigan Shoreland Stewards Program

See what  lake friendly practices can help you keep your lake clean, maintain or restore habitat for fish and wildlife and create a beautiful place to enjoy nature. 

Download The Shoreline Living Guide

Learn how to landscape around inland lakes to keep them beautiful and healthy

Explore The Michigan Shoreline Partnership Website

See how you can enjoy and protect your lake with a natural shoreline

Score Your Shore

Take a test to see how your shoreline rates and view The Shoreland Stewards Guide

Download The Michigan Shoreland Stewards Guide

This guide gives recommendations for the best management practices to protect our lakes

Read The Water's Edge Booklet

This booklet explains the problem sea walls and beaches pose to inland lakes and offers solutions for homeowners.