Native Shoreline Buffers to Protect Water Quality

By Dixie Ward, Project Manager
Muskegon River Watershed Assembly

Infographic Native Buffer Zone Muskegon River

Infographic: Native Buffer Zone

A shoreline buffer is an inexpensive, effective, and agreeable means to help treat typical runoff from our watershed and preserve the cleanliness of our open water bodies.

Vegetation that is planted or purposely left in place next to a water body serves as a barrier against sediment, nutrients and other non-point source pollutants.

These bands of native greenery provide much more than a natural look and sheltered feeling for those humans and living things living along the shore.

Counteracting non-point source pollution involves protecting water bodies from loading with excess nutrients, sediment, contaminants and pathogens.

Riparian buffers shield the ground, prevent erosion, restrain runoff flows, and get the water underground where much of its excess nutrient load can adhere to soil particles or be absorbed by living roots.

Sediment is trapped up on the land, where it belongs, and runoff water, is guided into the soil, where nutrients can feed land plants and contaminants are filtered out.

Native plant shoreline buffers provide numerous other environmental advantages beyond their effects on water quality.

Native shoreline vegetation attracts numerous kinds of wildlife by supplying the bulk of their habitat needs. Native vegetation requires none of the fertilization, watering, and chemical pest controls that can be detrimental in riparian areas.

The Muskegon River Watershed will be offering Natural Shoreline workshops in Muskegon and Newaygo Counties this summer. For additional information, contact the MRWA at 231-591-2320.