Shoreland Restoration

Restoring shoreland areas to their native habitat is an excellent way to reduce nutrient input to our watershed while increasing habitat for wildlifeand creating a beautiful, self-sustaining landscape.

Like all good things, shoreland restorations take time. Shoreland conditions didn't change overnight, and native vegetation won't come back overnight either.

Project Expectations

Here's what to expect through the implementation and establishment phase of shoreland restorations:

Year One:

  • The first year is considered the “messy stage”. Heavy equipment will disrupt traffic around pathways, temporary fencing will encircle the restoration area and erosion control fabric will be noticeable in the first part of the year. During the first year a good portion of plant species will not bloom and annual weeds may be prevalent.

Year Two:

  • By the second year annual weeds will become outcompeted by the native species and erosion control fabrics will no longer be noticeable. During the second year more wildflowers will bloom.

Year Three:

  • By the end of the third year the site will begin to mature. Flowering will be evident during most of the growing season and temporary fencing will not be needed to protect the area.

Beyond Three Years:

  • After and aggressive native plant community is well established along the shoreline (4 to 5 years), all of the project goals will be reached - erosion will diminish, native plant species will flourish and weeds will be under control.


**If you are interested in restoring your shore you may qualify for financial assistance.  Contact us or Becker County Soil & Water Conservation District for more information


Example Projects

Shoreline Restoration Site at the City Beach Park

The Pelican River Watershed District worked with Prairie Restoration and the City of Detroit Lakes to restore a portion of the shoreline at the City Beach Park. The project included the planting of shrubs, native flowers and grasses, and creating walking trails through the site with educational signage.

The first step in our restoration project at the City Beach Park was to spray all the existing turf grass to stop its growth.

Next, the dead grass and vegetation was burned off in a controlled burning by Prairie Restoration. The soil was loosened and seeded with native plants, grasses and shrubs as well as a cover crop to help control weed growth.

Fencing was placed at the entrances to the future trails to set the boundaries of the native growth. The flowers are expected to grow fully within three years of annual burning, mowing and maintenance.

Highway 10 Shoreline Restoration

The Pelican River Watershed District was the lead agency in coordinating an effort to restore approximately 1,800 feet ofshoreline along the north side of Big Detroit Lake.  While the project was separate from the Highway 10 realignment project, the timing was perfect to work closely with MNDOT to make this project financially feasible.

Major Changes

Workers re-graded the shoreline, removed excess rip-rap and added soil to repair the site that was once eroding rip-rap and turf grass. A variety of trees, shrubs and wildflowers that are native to Becker county have been planted.  Examples of such species are Bur oak, a variety of Dogwoods, Blazing stars, and Black-eyed susans.


Minnesota Conservation Corps

The MCC were a crucial part of putting the project plan on the ground. A crew of five people spent over a week planting hundreds of shrubs and thousands of plant plugs. The Youth Conservation Corp also gave planting assistance and installed fencing to keep the geese from eating freshly planted plugs.


Restoration activities included:

  • Reclamation of over 72,000 square feet of shoreline area

  • Removal of over 1,200 square feet of excess rip-rap

  • Almost 80 trees, at least 500 shrubs and over 13,000 native plants

  • Two lake access paths and a split rail fence installed

  • Naturalization of two rain gardens


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