Shoring up water quality

Shoreline restoration demonstrates techniques landowners can apply to their lakeshores

This spring, Great River Greening is partnering with Scott County and Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District (PLSLWD) to install a variety of shoreline restoration methods, such as “willow wattles,” bio-logs, and planting native wetland grasses that will promote a natural plant barrier to phosphorus runoff.


On May 21, volunteers are invited to work alongside our ecologists to install the demonstrations on a steep parcel of the Spring Lake shore, in Prior Lake.

”This event aims to give lakeshore property owners hands-on experience and the tools they need to restore their own shorelines.”
-Maggie Karschnia, PLSLWD Water Resources Project Manager

“The trick to stabilizing a shoreline is to get plants to first root. This is especially difficult on steep shore banks.”
-Steve Thomforde, Great River Greening Ecologist

Willow wattles? Bio-logs?


Willow wattles are bundles of live willow branches which are used on shorelines and slopes for stabilization and to introduce new plant material. Wattles reduce erosion, trap sediment, and hold the soil in place. The above image shows 6-week-old plantings from an installation on Rollie’s Island Whitefish Lake.


Bio-logs are cylindrical rolls of fiber, often packed coconut, where plant plugs can establish. Their bulk provides protection of the plants and shorelines by reducing wave energy and trapping sediment and nutrients from land runoff.

Spring Lake from Raymond Park

Spring Lake borders the south edge of the 400-acre Spring Lake Regional Park, host to a rare maple basswood forest, recreation amenities, and environmentally important open water and wetlands.

Spring Lake Regional Park 2010

Spring Lake Regional Park opened to the public in 2012, after decades of planning. It quickly became a favorite of local residents. Great River Greening volunteers played a key role in its evolution: Since 2010, 400 hundred volunteers have hauled buckthorn and planted native flowers.

Spring Lake Regional Park

Great River Greening staff ecologists worked hundreds of hours restoring the park’s oak savanna. Once they have completed the shoreline demonstration, tours of the learning site will be an ongoing offering.

This project is made possible with support from Scott County, Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District, MN DNR Aquatic Habitat Program, Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund, Cargill, and Scott County in partnership with Three Rivers Park District.