The shoreline of any pond or lake is an important barrier that helps keep the water clean and prevents it from filling up with mud and debris. Come the springtime months, many HOA and golf course pond managers will find that the shorelines are starting to erode.
Shoreline erosion is a natural process that takes place over time. There are many reasons why it tends to erode, but also many things managers can do to help stop it completely. We’re going to look at what causes shoreline erosion and how to prevent it from happening in the first place.
What Causes Shoreline Erosion?
Water is an incredibly destructive force. From the Colorado River carving out the Grand Canyon to glaciers carving out entire valleys, it shapes and moves the earth as it sees fit. On a much smaller scale, the water of your pond or lake routinely laps at the shoreline 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The lapping wave action carries small soil particles into the water. This is on a calm day.
During wet weather, raindrops and rivers of water will move huge amounts of soil from the banks and shoreline into the water. Bank erosion is the leading cause of shoreline damage. As time goes by, it chips away at the underlying soil until the entire bank slumps into the water.
Fortunately, there are a few things HOA and golf course managers can do to help slow, limit, or completely prevent shoreline erosion from happening. The success of your endeavors will vary based on how much damage has occurred so far and how much work, time, and money you’re willing to invest in fixing the problem once and for all.
Here are a few things that you can to do help prevent shoreline erosion:
Native Grasses and Plants – If you haven’t done so already, start planting as many native plants and grasses as your budget will afford. This is the first thing that you should do in your battle to control erosion. These native plants and grasses will form deep roots that hold the soil in place and help divert water flow into the pond or lake.
Keep Animals at Bay – Livestock, pets, and even wild animals see a pond or lake as a free source of drinking water. However, many of them, such as wild deer, can weigh a few hundred pounds, and their hooves will tear up and into the soil on the shoreline. They will also see the nearby plants, grass, and vegetation as a tasty snack, thereby increasing the erosion rate.
Use Rip Rap-Rock – Rip rap-rock is a word that is used to refer to rocks and stones that range in size and shape from five to about 35 inches in diameter. River rock, granite, boulders, cobblestone, and fieldstone can all serve as rip rap-rock.
They help stabilize shorelines and protect areas that are prone to erosion. Many HOA and golf course pond managers will use them to help stabilize soil slopes that tend to seep or contain poor soil.
Rip rap-rock will also discourage livestock, pets, and hooved wild animals from treading on them, as their surfaces are jagged and not suitable for a four-legged creature that weighs a few hundred pounds.
Build a Berm – An earthen berm that’s covered in grass or other vegetation around your pond can also help prevent soil erosion. While it may not look very aesthetic if you build it too high, it’s a great way to channel rainwater into an area that’s covered in rip rap-rock.
Fix the Bank Slope – This method of helping prevent shoreline erosion is often more costly and time-consuming. If your pond or lake has a steep bank with a slope that’s greater than three feet of width for every one foot of height, it’s guaranteed that it can and will erode over time if it’s not stabilized.
Change the Soil – Changing the soil type is another potentially costly and time-consuming way of protecting your shoreline. If you currently have sandy soil, it has less structural integrity and is more prone to erosion. Even the smallest of pond ripples can have a detrimental effect on sandy soil.
This type of soil is very prevalent in coastal plains and desert areas. Considering changing out (or at the very least adding) a soil type that contains a fair amount of clay, which can help with preventing water from eroding the soil.
Nation-Wide Lake and Pond Dredging
Soil erosion can also cause a nutrient overload to occur in your body of water. This will lead to fish die-offs and unsightly algae outbreaks. After you’ve fixed your erosion problem, consider getting your ponds dredged, as it will help remove years of organic muck from the bottom of the water and prevent an algae outbreak.
At American Underwater Services, we specialize in helping HOA and golf course managers keep their ponds looking as good as the day they were first created. Give us a call at (866) 594-1272 to learn more about how we can help keep your water crystal-clear and your pond or lake healthy.