Shoreline Restoration/Rip Rap

Shoreline Restoration/Rip Rap

Rip Rap /Armoring Your Shoreline

Rip-Rap or rock armoring is an erosion control measure used to reduce erosion from wave action along shorelines. Shoreline restoration practices have changed dramatically over the past decade. Current regulations regarding shoreline restoration may require a permit from Wisconsin DNR for work completed from the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) out towards the water, and a Polk County Zoning Land Use permit for areas from OHWM towards the land. It is extremely important to have the proper permits in place before any alterations to the land begin. Our staff is trained and certified for shoreline restoration/buffer installs within Polk County Wisconsin. We work closely with both of these agencies to protect your rights as a riparian landowner, while providing erosion control and reduced storm water run-off to protect our natural resources. Rip-Rap rock shorelines combined with native vegetation above the OHWM create a fantastic low maintenance filter in which wildlife will thrive. Cost sharing grants may be available for native buffer plantings, however, Rip-Rap is generally not cost shared.

There are limits on:

  • How many lineal feet of rip - rap a landowner can install
  • How high above the OHWM the rock can extend
  • How far towards the water from the OHWM rock can extend
  • Type and size of rock used

Other site specific Rules that MAY apply

  • Native Vegetative may need to be installed along upper edge of rip-rap
  • Existing “seawalls” may need to be removed prior to adding rip-rap
  • “Sensitive” areas like spawning grounds, areas with protected vegetation, or floating aquatic vegetation may impact your ability to install rip-rap


1. Rip-rap is forever and will not require maintenance.

Rip-rap will continue to move with freeze/thaw cycles and intense wave action. We tell clients they may need to budget for maintenance every 3-5 years depending on location.

2. Rip-rap will prevent ice damage….. WRONG!

Probably one of the biggest myths out there….. If you get intense ice damage/berms yearly or bi-annually, we recommend NOT to install rip-rap. It can become VERY expensive to fix rip-rap once the soils behind it have been altered drastically. Only option is to remove all rock, remove future slope soils then reinstall all rock/ fabric. VERY labor intensive.

We provide service to Polk and surrounding counties.
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