1. Hardened shorelines accelerate erosion, eliminate the shoreline’s “filtering” ability, degrade habitat.

2. Removal or rearrangement of natural debris leaves your shoreline vulnerable to erosion.

3. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides reduce water quality, are deadly for fish and other wildlife.

4. Cleared “manicured” lots lack shade and privacy. Loss of native plants leads to more erosion, runoff and work for you!

5. Harmful household chemicals and cleaners damage septic systems and degrade water quality.

6. Malfunctioning septic systems and improper waste disposal degrade water quality; can lead to beach closures for swimming and shellfish harvesting.

7. Runoff flows over solid surfaces, accelerating erosion; excess silt degrades habitat for fish and other aquatic critters.

8. Inappropriate beach access, such as steep stairs, destabilizes banks and leads to increased erosion.

9. Private docks, piers and boat ramps destroy eelgrass beds and habitat for fish and other wildlife.

10. Poorly maintained engines leak oil and other petroleum products and wste 25-40% of fuel.


1. Work with an expert to “soften” your shoreline; improve erosion protection with native trees, shrubs, grasses and beach logs.

2. Resist the urge to “tidy up”; let organic debris like beach logs and fallen trees act as a natural seawall.

3. Landscape with low maintenance native plants. Mow lawns high using a mulching mower.

4. Prune trees, rather than removing. Plant native trees and shrubs to reduce erosion and absorb runoff.

5. Use environmentally friendly products and cleaners, or alternatives like baking soda and vinegar.

6. Repair and maintain your septic system (consult an expert). Compost house and yard waste.

7. Repair solid surfaces with porous materials. Redirect gutter runoff into porous or vegetated areas, away from shore.

8. Share beach access with neighbors, maintaining a narrow winding trail. Avoid accessing steep banks.

9. Use public docks and boat launches where possible; consider replacing your dock with a low impact private access option (e.g. a mooring buoy).

10. Use a well-maintained electric or push mower, and a 4 or 2-stroke boat motor that meets or betters EPA 2006 guidelines.