Use native plants along shores of Lakes Erie & Ontario– see new guide

dunes with native grass on Lake Ontario courtesy Roy Widrig
Champlain beachgrass, a dune grass native to Lake Ontario’s eastern shoreline, can help stem erosion. The beachgrass radiates out from the main plant through rhizomes or runners and send roots down deep within the dune. As the sand buries the grass, the plant aggressively grows toward the surface, sending new sets of runners to further stabilize the new layer of sand atop the dune. Photo courtesy Roy Widrig, New York Sea Grant

Private property owners as well as municipalities can use a new guide to select plants to revitalize the shorelines of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

Working With Nature: A Guide to Native Plants for New York’s Great Lakes Shorelines was recently released by New York Sea Grant, part of a nationwide network of 34 university-based programs working with coastal communities through the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The guide offers nature-based alternatives to traditional “gray” or hard structures such as rock rip-rap (rocky material placed along shorelines to prevent erosion). The guide lists 41 species of trees, shrubs, grasses, ground covers, vines and perennials, as well as their preferred shoreline setting.

The guide was developed with funding from New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund and technical assistance from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners and Wisconsin Sea Grant.

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