Shoreline Erosion Problem Fixed at Skinner Lake


Mar 11, 2001
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Shoreline Erosion Problem Fixed at Skinner Lake


A new bio-engineered seawall constructed at Skinner Lake in Noble County should stop waves from eroding a 235-foot section of shoreline on the lake’s north side.

Funded by the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), the seawall consists of 110 feet of encapsulated soil, planted with grasses and shrubs protected by rocks and 125 feet of rolled coconut fiber "biologs" embedded with various plants.

JFNew, an environmental consulting firm headquartered in Walkerton, IN, designed and installed the seawall adjacent to the public beach last fall at a cost of $19,000. Final seeding of the site was completed in late April.

Money for the project was the result of a resource-damage settlement from a pesticide spill that killed fish and temporarily closed the lake to public use in 1995.

“We worked closely on this project with the Skinner Lake Home Owners Association,” said Jennifer Campbell-Allison, restoration biologist of the DFW’s contaminants program. “We expect that this new seawall technology will have a long-lasting impact on the lake.

“The biologs and plantings together should help provide cleaner, clear water.”

Without the seawall, sediment would continue to erode into the lake and muddy the water. Once the shrubs are fully established, their roots should stabilize the bank and create an attractive, shaded shoreline.

“The bio-engineered seawall at Skinner Lake is an excellent example of the application of new technology to solve old problems,” said Jed Pearson, DFW biologist who oversees fish management at the lake.

“In the past, many lakefront property owners would simply construct concrete or metal bulkhead seawalls to stop shoreline erosion,” he said. “Bulkhead seawalls hold the bank in place but they also reflect wave energy back into the lake. The energy tears up the bottom, uproots aquatic plants, and damages fish habitat.”

Bio-engineering designs give landowners an option to incorporate natural materials into their seawall that can disperse wave energy and function better than bulkhead seawalls.

For some types of shoreline, such as sensitive wetland areas, state law mandates that only bio-engineered seawalls can be installed. Traditional bulkhead seawalls are only allowed along highly developed areas.

“Lake residents need to know the rules for seawall construction,” Pearson said. “A DNR permit is required for any seawall and its design must meet certain specifications.”

Pearson hopes lake residents will examine the bio-engineered seawall at Skinner Lake to see if a similar design could work for them.

Media Contact:
Jed Pearson, biologist, (260) 244-6805; Marty Benson, public information officer (317) 233-3853; cell (317) 696-9812

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