The 2007 National Lake Assessment identified the biggest problem with the nation’s lakes is poor lakeshore habitat. Michigan’s 11,000 inland lakes face many threats to shoreline/shallow water areas, including native vegetation removal leading to unstable shorelines and habitat loss. In an effort to help residents understand the need for natural shorelines, the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership (MNSP) formed in 2008 with the mission of promoting natural shorelines.
Oakland County’s 1,400 lakes possess a unique combination of economic, aesthetic, and ecological value. Since 2012, Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) coordinated diverse community partners to deliver educational workshops led by trained “Shoreline Educators” focused on the importance of stable shorelines to protect against erosion from wave energy, ice push and runoff while providing suitable fish and wildlife habitat. Post-program reflective surveys showed an increase in knowledge related to the importance of natural shorelines, rules and regulations, and ability to access shoreline information.