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Protecting Your Shoreline from Erosion

Protecting Your Shoreline from Erosion

There are many ways to stabilize and protect your shoreline from erosion. Some of the methods used to protect against shoreline erosion may be familiar to you. Each method has its disadvantages and advantages, depending on your location, lake guidelines and the amount of exposure you receive (i.e, wind and the number of waves it withstands). Finding what works for you can be a daunting task, but experienced marine contractors can work with you to ensure your investment is both cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing to your surroundings.


Riprap is defined as coarse stones, boulders, or rock, loosely laid against an existing bank or shore for the purpose of preventing or controlling erosion. The size of natural rock will reduce movement by natural forces. Riprap is generally placed to prevent erosion by wave action and currents. It is also useful in preventing burrowing animals, such as beavers and muskrat.

All riprap requires maintenance. Proper rock size, filler and slope will prevent frequent maintenance, though all riprap will experience some displacement. Riprap does not prevent ice heaves, however.


Often chosen for aesthetic purposes, large, round cobbles are usually used in areas where wave action is not extreme, such as a cove. The boulders can either be placed over smaller stones and dirt or joined together by mortar.


Retaining walls are vertical structures designed to hold back the sloped area to the shoreline. Retaining walls must be constructed to hold back the pressure of thousands of pounds of soil on one side and the pounding waves on the other. Seawalls are also structures designed to resist the wave attack and the primary structure which separates land and water areas. Seawalls can be of many materials, including steel, concrete, timber, or aluminum sheet pile.

Once your seawall is completed, you’ll have an effective barrier against the woes of water erosion, protecting your shore from washing away with the tides.

"If you want to protect the ongoing shrinkage of your waterfront property line, then constructing a seawall can prevent your shore from making a gradual migration into the lake," said Scott Thomas, owner of Thomas Docks. "Quality components are the key to long-term sustainability and overall happiness," added Thomas.

Once constructed, a properly built wall should last for decades.

If you live along the water, it is always going to be man against nature. Keeping your property from damage and from disappearing altogether should be a priority and Before taking on a large project like this, consider contacting a marine contractor who can work with you to determine what will work with your individual property and budget.

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