Shoreline Buffers Help Protect Lake George

The Problem
More and more people are building year-round or second homes on Lake George. They often bring their idea of a conventional yard with them, leading to a grass lawn down to the lake shore. Problems with bringing traditional lawns to the lake shore can include:
• Excessive plant growth and algal blooms;
• Shoreline erosion and sedimentation;
• Loss of wildlife habitat;
• An increase in nuisance animals; and
• Loss of leisure time.

The Solution
A well landscaped yard adds value to your property and can also benefit Lake George’s water quality and overall health. The benefits of buffers include:
• Food and shelter for local wildlife;
• Stabilization of soil to reduce erosion;
• Filtration of pollutants and sediments;
• Absorption of nutrients;
• Deterrence of nuisance species;
• Privacy from lake users; and
• Savings in time and money for maintenance.

What is a vegetative buffer?
A vegetative buffer, or buffer zone, is a strip of natural vegetation along the shoreline of a lake or waterbody. Ideally, the vegetation should cover at least 50 - 75% of the property’s lake frontage. By restoring the shoreline with native plants, you restore the ecological functions of the lake shore.

Use the natural landscape as your guide
Let trees form a canopy, with shrubs, flowers, and ground cover underneath, creating multiple layers - just like in nature. If your trees are bigger than you want, stick with lower shrubs and flowers. Do what works for you - any plants are better than grass all the way down to the Lake.

Right Plant. RIght Place.
Lake George is in Zone 4 of the plant hardiness zones - so be sure any plants you pick are meant for zone 4 or colder. You will also need to consider the soil type, sunlight, drainage and slope on your site.

What should I plant?
Stop by the LGA office to pick up a list of recommended plants for buffers - pdf on Lake George. You can also check out the demonstration buffer at our office or at Lake Avenue Beach and Shepard Park in Lake George Village.

How do I get started ?
Look around at natural areas to see what plants are growing there. There are also many plant lists available online or available at the LGA office. Want professional help? We can visit your site and provide advice, help you find a local landscaper with experience planting buffers, or help educate your current landscaping team.

 


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