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Shorelines & Bluffs

When shorelines and bluffs are experiencing erosion, it’s best to find a solution sooner rather than later. At Natural Environments Corporation, we’ve spent the last 40 years delivering excellent results every single time. With our team of experts at your side, you can finally control your shoreline erosion problems with lasting, environmentally-friendly solutions. Request a free quote to get started today.

What Are Shoreline and Bluff Erosion Solutions?

People who own property along a lakeshore often run into issues with the stabilization of their shoreline and bluff lot. Stabilization is critical to protect our lakes and riverways, and for the property owners to protect their properties. There are three primary ways we stabilize shorelines and bluffs:

Hard armoring: Installation of rip rap to enhance protection.

Vegetative method: Strategic planting is placed along the bluff line to help keep the area in place.

Hybrid: Vegetative rip rap is used to make a hybrid solution.

Each shoreline situation is different, so erosion issues may have varying causes. Some shorelines are eroding from waves while others are damaged from the wake from boats. River currents or excessive rainfall can also erode your shoreline. All of these situations cause erosion, and if left unattended, will damage shorelines and can cause collapses in some cases.  

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What Is the Importance of a Well-Designed Shoreline Erosion Solution?

If we’re going to utilize one of these systems on shorelines or bluffs, we will need to develop a design that will fit the individual needs of the property. As such, we’ll need to analyze the site, figure out what’s causing the issues, and then come up with the best solution to correct it. 

All shoreline erosion solutions have environmental and aesthetic impacts on the lake or river and it is vitally important that the contractor you hire is an expert in shoreline stabilization. Request a quote from Natural Environments Corporation today to get an expert opinion on how to protect your shoreline. 

How Are Erosion Solutions for Shoreline and Bluffs Installed?

Rip Rap Installation

The process of installing riprap begins with preparing the site for the installation of stone by setting a slope (about a 3:1 slope) so that you have an area to add a geotextile fabric on top. 

From there, you start adding toe boulders, which are the bottom stones. They’re typically larger and embedded in the lake or riverbed. Then you continue to lay stone up the slope until you’ve reached a height typically a foot or two above the ordinary high water mark of the lake or river. 

Most communities require permits for shoreline improvements. These permits require drawings that must follow very specific rules. Our expert designers are very well versed in the rules and regulations and can help you navigate this complicated process.

Vegetative Buffers or Strips Installation

When it comes to vegetative buffers or strips, it requires a designer to select the right kinds of plants to install in the bluff or shoreline. Once we’ve got that figured out, we go in and clear the bluff or prepare it so that it’s ready for vegetation. 

Oftentimes, we’ll install a product called coir log along the bottom of the river or lake to help temporarily support the area while the plants take root, and then we’ll plant en masse along the hillside or shoreline to stabilize everything.

How We Determine What Solution to Use

Vegetative buffers are generally used along low-impact zones. If you’re in an area where it’s high impact, rip rap could be the best choice. If you’re in a medium impact zone, you might consider the hybrid solution, rip rap installed with vegetation in it. It is extremely important to understand the local rules and regulations while determining the method of shoreline stabilization that will be used. Always hire a professional to navigate this complicated process.

What Happens if Shorelines and Bluffs Aren’t Handled Correctly?

There are a lot of rules and regulations that will guide the way that these shorelines and bluffs are protected and designed. It’s critical that the person that you hire to stabilize the shoreline has extensive knowledge of these rules and the governing bodies that govern those waterways. 


Without that, you may face enforcement action from the local governing body and you may be required to remove the improvements that you paid for. Improper installation could also happen if you don’t put in the right types of plants or install the rip rap in the right fashion (like if the slope is too steep). Improperly installed shoreline erosion solutions will usually fail. Because of this, you must have a properly designed and installed system to protect your shoreline. 

At Natural Environments Corporation, our years of experience with erosion solutions means we’ll design your solution properly every single time. Request a quote today to start protecting your shorelines and bluffs. 

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Natural Environments Corporation Frequently Asked Questions

As mentioned, continual shoreline erosion can cause collapses in some cases. Additionally, shoreline erosion can cause property loss over time. This property loss can cause your home’s value to decrease. Overall, it’s crucial to address erosion before it starts causing these major problems.

Shoreline erosion happens when there is a significant amount of energy coming from the water toward the shoreline. When the waves reach the shoreline, it pulls some sediment back into the water, causing the land to deteriorate over time. Excessive rainfall can also erode your shoreline while it is running toward the lake or river.

One of the great things about rip rap is that it is extremely durable. While extreme ice events and storms can damage your shoreline, a properly installed rip rap system should protect your shoreline for many years.

Rip rap works by dispersing the energy that a wave has as it crashes into your shoreline. Instead of hitting a soft and vulnerable bank, the water deflects off of the hard rocks of the rip rap system. This disperses the energy from that water all along the rip rap and prevents erosion of vulnerable areas. A rip rap system works similarly for the pressure caused by ice during the winter. The right conditions can cause your shoreline to heave from ice pressure. Rip rap can help prevent this by deflecting the energy of the ice by pushing it upwards and away from your shoreline. 



Our landscaping services in Minneapolis St. Paul – Twin Cities include landscape design, retaining walls, boulder retaining walls, stone walls, rip rap, shoreline erosion control, patios, driveways, helical piers and more.


Phone: (763) 544-8002
Email: Contact us