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Lake Metonga, Fun for the Whole Family … for Generations to Come!

Lake Metonga Shoreline Stabilization

The Forest County Program is here to help if you are considering adding a rain garden or native plants to your shoreline

Beautiful flowers and other native plants along your shoreline or in rain garden:

  • Bring more wildlife to your yard
  • Deter geese and may lessen mosquitos
  • Prevent runoff from entering the lakes and rivers
  • Help protect lakes and rivers for future generations

We offer site visits, plant suggestions, and assistance in finding cost share.

For more information:
Contact Steve at or Kayla at or call 715-478-1387

For a quick overview, watch this short video about how shoreland zoning helps fish, wildlife and water quality.

Shoreland zoning isn’t only for aesthetic purposes.

There are studies that prove that educated and cautious development on our lakes and rivers can conserve and/or improve our investment value.

The quality of our lakes can be controlled by how we take care of our land. Studies in the Midwest have found that lakes with clearer water commanded higher property prices. It was discovered that when the clarity of a lake went down 3 feet property values also went down by the tens of thousands.  The healthier the lake the more fish, more fish =great fishing and again higher property values.

Zoning Ordinances control impervious surface, structure placement and vegetation removal on our shorelines. These all play a part in keeping our lakes and rivers healthy.

Impervious surface regulations control hard surfaces on a property.  A study of 47 warm water streams in Wisconsin showed impervious surfaces that cover greater than 12% of a lot caused a decrease in many fish species.  Some were even gone from these waters. Less fish = less property value.

The buffer zone on a shoreline is the area 35 feet upland from the high- water mark. The removal of the vegetative buffer zone is prohibited in NR115 and Forest County’s Shoreland Zoning Ordinance.

Often when someone invests in a shoreland property they have the idea that it looks better with a well-manicured lawn, striving for that golf course or beach. Although this makes a great area for sitting and swimming it is very harmful to the lakes.

A mowed lawn sends rain runoff carrying debris such as lawn clippings or pet waste to the water. This fuels the algae growth. These manicured lawns also attract geese, which are grazers.  In one week, an adult goose can produce 15 pounds of slippery, smelly droppings. The runoff that is deposited in the lake can cover spawning beds of walleye, cutting off oxygen to their eggs.

A study of 8 shoreline properties in Vilas and Forest Counties showed that a manicured lawn yielded more nitrogen and phosphorus than a natural shoreline.  Did you know one (1) pound of phosphorus can result in five-hundred (500) pounds of algae?

Another benefit of a buffer zone is that it provides habitat for insects such as grasshoppers and ants.  These insects sometimes end up in the lake providing food for bluegills and other fish. Trees on the shoreline provide shade, with no shade the water warms up, this also affects certain fish species.

Structure setbacks are not only so you can’t see the structure from the lake. This also helps the health of the lake. Structures that are set further back allow more room towards the lake for vegetation like shrubs and trees and help to stabilize the shoreline. The setback of a structure also will dictate the placement of a sanitary system.  It is better to have all of this further back.

Many waterfront land owners wonder how the removal of natural vegetation on a single lot could harm the lake. The issue is not the one person on a single lot, the issue is when a majority of the owners do the same thing.  It all adds up to poor lake quality.

You don’t have to give up your lawn to create a natural wildlife friendly shoreline. Consider reverting 65-70% of your frontage back to natural.  This still leaves an area big enough to enjoy with family for swimming and sunbathing.   The County Lands Conservation office may be able to help with a cost share grant to rehabilitate your shoreline. Some of the native plants are beautiful and can make your yard look like a park (a healthy, lake friendly park).

Taking care of your property helps to take care of the lake and will provide many years of successful fishing and enjoyable swimming.  This all protects the value of your lakefront property.