Itasca Waters, a Grand Rapids non-profit that advocates for clean water in Itasca County and surrounding areas, has developed a unique program: The Shoreland Advisors Program. This pilot program, developed with the University of Morris Extension, provides onsite information and assistance to lakeshore owners who are interested in keeping their lake healthy and maintaining or increasing the value of their lakeshore home and property.

Itasca Waters and the University of Morris Extension have trained more than 30 volunteers as shoreland advisors. These advisors make personal onsite visits with lakeshore owners who want more information about managing shoreland property in an ecologically friendly way. The advisors discuss helpful practices the property owner can implement that will positively impact a lake’s water quality. Some topics the advisor discusses with the property owner are: Minimizing runoff and erosion, reducing the amount of lawn, creating a pollinator buffer zone between their lawn and lake, and the use of rain barrels and rain gardens to prevent runoff.

This program is available at no cost to the lakeshore owner. Itasca Waters requests lakeshore owners who would like a shoreland advisor visitation to contact ItascaWaters.org and click on the Shoreland Advisors button, or call 218-256-5998. Zack Simpson, Itasca Waters coordinator, will schedule the visit. Lakeshore owners will be given the Itasca County Shoreland Guide to Lake Stewardship, also available online at ItascaWaters.org, and a Resource Guide of public agencies and private businesses who can help in developing or implementing a shoreland plan.

The Shoreland Advisors program is supported by grants from the Blandin Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and donations from community members, businesses, and lake associations.

Zack Simpson

Itasca Waters Coordinator

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