1225 Progress Dr., Hastings, MN 55033 p:651-480-6185 f:651-437-5006
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aShoreline erosion is an issue of concern on many rivers.  How people handle their boats is pivotal to reducing shoreline erosion.  Reducing the speed and resulting wake, especially during high waters, is paramount.  Modern power boats operate in three different speed zones:

Displacement Speed is the slowest speed at which boat operates with bow down.   Very little wake is produced.
Transition Speed occurs when power is applied resulting in a rising bow.   The engine is using its maximum amount of fuel as it attempts to get the boat on plane.  The largest wake is produced as the boat is plowing through the water.

Planing Speed is when the boat reaches planning speed as the bow drops, fuel consumption reduces, and only a small portion of the hull contacts the water.  The wake decreases in size from its maximum elevation during transition speed.

aA five inch wake is a good threshold to reduce shoreline erosion while still providing a reasonable speed for boaters.  Hydrologists estimate that a wake ten inches high is five times as destructive to the shoreline as a five inch wake.  They further estimate that a wake 25 inches in height has a destructive potential 30 times greater than a five inch wake.
Many runabouts and larger fishing craft create a wake approximately 10 inches high when they are on plane.  Large displacement hulls, such as cruisers and houseboats, can create a wake of about 25 inches high. 

aWake height especially becomes important during periods of high water.  Boat operators need to slow down and make sure their wakes are five inches or less.  Remember, as a boat operator you are legally responsible for your wake under both federal and state law.
For additional information visit the Department of Natural Resources.


aShoreline areas provide a unique ecological zone that is required for certain plant and animal species.  Destroying this to replace it with a lawn and or other structures reduces the health of the water as well as its surrounding habitat. a  Eutrophication, the process where lakes change because of an overabundant supply of nutrients, can occur.  Changing the diversity of the shorelines such as reducing buffer zones increases the amount of phosphorus, nitrogen, and other materials entering the lake. These nutrients cause the rapid growth of aquatic weeds and algae.  This growth leads to the buildup of muck on the bottom leading to a transferring of fish populations from sport fish such as bass and walleye to rough fish like carp. This process can be slowed or even reversed by proper use of management practices.

Outdoor recreation is dependant on a healthy and attractive environment.  Recreation pursuits should allow people to enjoy the outdoors without damaging the environment.  The following are basic principles that property owners can observe to help improve shoreline quality as well as water quality.

Buffer Zones

Areas adjacent to bodies of water should be left in its natural condition.  Buffer or filter strips provides many unique benefits to the aquatic ecosystem.  They include:

  1. Protect water quality by intercepting nutrients from entering the water
  2. Controls shoreline erosion
  3. Provides food, shelter, and nesting sites for fish and wildlife
  4. Stabilize lake bottom sediment

aBuffer zones should be as wide as possible.  For agricultural lands, a minimum width of 50 feet is required.  Untouched natural habitat is best, but if designing a restoration project then plant native vegetation over as much of the property as possible to provide the best filtration.  The best filter strip is mature woodlands with full ground-level, mid-story, and upper-story growth. The filter's effectiveness drops off as the amount of vegetation decreases. Full-height native prairie grasses along the shore are more effective as filters than short mowed lawns.

Erosion and Sediment
All disturbed soil should be stabilized.  Sediment from soil erosion contains nutrients that promote excessive algae and bacteria in lakes.  Stabilize and correct erosion problems as they occur by using one or more best management practice methods.

aCarefully evaluate the need for turf grass near bodies of water. Over watering can waste valuable groundwater. Turf grass is poor at filtering out contaminants in runoff water before it enters a lake. Lawn fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides have a tendency to reach the water systems and degrade them.


Keep gardens away from the water’s edge.  Use only safe additives and control any potential runoff from the exposed soil.

Storm Water Runoff
Try and reduce the amount of impervious surfaces.  These “hard” surfaces that are impermeable to water decrease infiltration resulting in increasing the odds of flooding, erosion, and reduce the groundwater recharge.  The City of Hastings has adopted a storm water ordinanceas well as a shoreland management ordinance addressing these issues.

Sewage Treatment
A properly run sewage system will prevent contaminants from leaking into the groundwater and surface waters.  Inspect to make sure the system is working properly.

Toxic Chemicals
aAvoid using toxic chemicals as much as possible.  Dispose of hazardous household wastes at available turn-in sites.  Use biodegradable soaps and household products.  Carefully handle gasoline and motor oils especially when or near water.

Plant native grasses, trees, and plants.  A healthy ecosystem with sensitive development, areas of native vegetation, natural shorelines, and good habitats for birds and wildlife provides a visually attractive environment.

For additional information visit the Department of Natural Resources.


aIn Minnesota, you can officially "adopt" a stretch of stream, river, or lake shore with the Department of Natural Resources.  The program supplies free garbage bags, gloves, and recognition for volunteers.  Information is provided as to what to do with tires and car batteries.  For additional information visit Adopt-A-River

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Page Modified: March 14, 2014 12:27 PM

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