Why Are Ice Ridges Good for Lakes?
You probably just want the ice ridge on your shoreline gone. It’s a big ugly mound.
But hang with me for a minute while I explain why it’s actually good for your part of the lake.
It’s part of the ecosystem. The mound of soil created along the shoreline – an ice ridge – slows down the runoff of storm water.
Unimpeded water runoff carries nutrients, lawn fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, and all sorts of other pollutants down into the lake. When you have an ice ridge you get a kind of natural water filter. The runoff pushes through the soil and emerges clean on the other side.
Filtering is why we drink water that comes from deep within the ground. Soil is a natural water filter.
What about lakes down south that don’t freeze? We haven’t figured that one out. Maybe they’re more polluted as a result. Maybe they have their own coping mechanism. We are headquartered in Minnesota so we’ve focused a lot more attention on lakes that do face ice heaving. Of course we do build shorelines all over the lower 48, so maybe someday we’ll meet someone who will be able to tell us how southern lakes fare with runoff.
Even though the Department of Natural Resources would like you to consider keeping your ice ridge, few property owners think it makes an ideal picnic spot. Most want us to smooth it out and get rid of it while we’re down there riprapping their shoreline. And that’s fine…typically there’s no law against smoothing out an ice ridge and properly sloping and riprapping your shoreline.
We know you’re paying property taxes on this beautiful lakeshore property, and we know this ice heave is pretty unsightly. So we’re not going to nag you to keep it.
Just keep in mind that we can’t guarantee we can stop your ice-heaving problem altogether. Mother Nature is still the boss. But we can greatly minimize the chances of that very ice heave forming a giant, ugly ice ridge along your shoreline. We do this by providing a proper slope for the ice to slide up every winter, and our riprap shorelines prevent erosion in the warmer months.