Vegetative Buffers along Shorelines Protect Water Quality

Vegetation and soils are very effective at trapping and removing pollution from run-off before it reaches streams, rivers and harbors. The better the barrier between any source of coliform bacteria and the shellfish growing area, the safer the shellfish.

Picture of vegetated buffer between shoreline and house.Thick vegetation or buffer strips along waterways slow runoff and naturally filter nonpoint source pollutants. Trees, shrubs, and ground cover will absorb up to 14 times more rainwater than a grass lawn.  

Picture of lawn between shorelie and house.










A shoreline with a lawn or significant clearing allows far more pollutants to reach surface waters and lead to clam flat closures.

Agricultural activities that cause nonpoint source pollution include poorly located or managed animal feeding operations; overgrazing; plowing too often or at the wrong time; and improper, excessive or poorly timed application of pesticides, irrigation water and fertilizer.

Roads transport runoff, and accumulating pollution, to our shorelines.

Picture of poor buffer between shoreline and housing.

Shoreland zoning regulations ensure that:

What can municipal officials do?