Buffered Shorelines Minimizing pollutants entering our waterways

Buffered shorelines, or buffer zones, are vegetated areas along rivers and lakes that help minimize the amount of pollution entering the water. A vegetative zone consisting of native plants helps to filter pollutants, such as fertilizers and pesticides, and minimizes grass clippings entering the waterways, which rapidly turn into nutrient laden muck.

Benefits of buffered shorelines

Reduce polluted runoff from your yard
Reduce irrigation costs
Reduce maintenance time (once established)
Increase habitat and food sources for wildlife
Increase supply of clean groundwater
Improve aesthetics and property value

Swales are swell

If you waterscape your property with berms and swales parallel to the shoreline of canals, drainage ditches or other bodies of water, you slow the flow of water, which ultimately reduces pollution and excessive sediment from entering the lagoon and keeps the water on your lawn for a longer duration of time. Landscape design by Meg Whitmer.

There are many beautiful native plants you can replace your grass with to help minimize runoff from your yard into the local waterways. These plants also provide essential habitat for birds and bees.

Sea Oxeye Daisy (Borrichia frutescens)
Soft Rush (Juncus effuses)
Wild Coffee (Psychotria nervosa)
Indian Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella)
Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)
Dune Sunflower (Helianthis debilis)
Sea Grape (Coccoloba uvifera)
Sunshine Mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa)

ORCA's research encouraged action at The Pointes Condominium in the Moorings. After reading about how lawn clippings and runoff are affecting our Indian River Lagoon, this community eliminated the lawn abutting their sea wall and used a native plant palette consisting of a mix of grasses, low shrubs, palms, and flowering trees. Using shell as opposed to mulch helps as it chemically buffers the acidity which is contributing to the problems our lagoon is facing. Landscaping by Digg Gardens.

The Pointes Condominium in the Moorings
The Pointes Condominium in the Moorings

ORCA's native plant nursery has a variety of plants recommended for buffer zones. To learn more about these plants join us for a volunteer day at our nursery. Visit our Facebook @TeamORCA for event dates.

For more information call 772-467-1600. All proceeds from plant sales benefit ORCA's restoration efforts along the Indian River Lagoon.

ORCA's native plant nursery


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