Michigan’s eroding shorelines have traditional been solved with hard metal seawalls. But research is finding that hard armory solutions have more long term issues than establishing a more natural form. Living shorelines work by connecting the land to the water rather than separating them, like with seawalls. Eagle Shoreline Protection, the first contractor approved for this type of work by the Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and aN r peninsula women owned small business, just finished up their biggest project in the home region.
“As they (State of Michigan) now recognize they don’t want to go the same way as previously. That the soft armory is more habitat friendly. And, so, this installation along the shore was not a little one, it was 450 feet. It was on the Keweenaw Bay. Some people were like, “Uhhh, I don’t know.”, but we were pretty strong in our understanding. And we did our research and we know this is going to be a stout solution. That will not only protect any of the further land from going out to sea, but also beautify it, and bring some habitat back together.” – Stephanie Graef, Eagle Shoreline Protection Owner
Graef worked with researchers in Maine to learn the benefits to a living shoreline over hard armory solutions. Living shorelines work by establishing a base of coir logs, and is filled in with dirt, and native plants, in order to create a more slopping transition into the water. Where hard armory mitigates the problem, and can sometimes cause downdrift erosion.
“However, we now know, after years of watching and researching, we know that is no longer the best practice. And we did research, and even went to the east coast, in Maine, because our Great Lakes are more like an ocean than it is a lake. And the living shoreline have, for a decade or even two now, and time has shown this is the strongest long term investment for small or large plots of land along the water.” – Stephanie Graef, Eagle Shoreline Protection, Owner
Eagle Shorelines Protection has now worked in the Keweenaw Bay and Grand Marias. The business takes an assessment approach before coordinating efforts on the shoreline restoration. The Baraga Lakeside Inn project, also established a monarch waystation, to pollinate the native milkweed that was planted in the location. Check out Eagle Shoreline Protection to learn more about living shorelines.
Call, (906) 523-3245, to learn more about living shorelines and Eagle Shoreline Protection.