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Hunting & FishingOwning Land

Tips for Protecting Fish Habitats

May 24, 2024

With fishing seasons beginning in many states, it’s a good time to start thinking about the way land management practices may impact fish habitats and the wildlife populations that call them home.

Here are a few tips to help landowners with fishing ponds or lakefront properties protect fish habitats!

Understand Your Ecosystem

One of the best things a landowner can do to protect fish habitats on their property is to understand their local ecosystem. Researching native fish and plant species will leave landowners better equipped to create a thriving ecosystem.

Another part of maintaining a healthy ecosystem is identifying and removing invasive species like zebra mussels, Northern snakehead, or Asian carp whenever possible. Invasive species can easily dominate an environment and wreak havoc on the natural balance of wildlife and plant life. Understanding common local invasive species and taking precautions to ensure you aren’t contributing to the spread of these species is a great way to promote healthy fish habitats.

Following responsible fishing practices can also help fishing populations prosper. Encouraging catch-and-release fishing allows smaller fish to mature and reproduce, and the same goes for sticking to local catch limits and size restrictions. Educating visitors and fellow fishermen on these practices promotes an overall culture committed to conservation and protecting fish habitats.

Protect Riparian Zones

What is a Riparian Zone?

Riparian zones or buffers are the areas adjacent to bodies of water and play an important role in maintaining water quality. These areas are crucial because they act as natural filters for pollutants and provide habitats and food for fish and other wildlife.

It’s important to avoid excessively clearing vegetation or building structures near the water’s edge since disturbing these areas can hinder their ability to filter out pollutants. Maintaining a healthy riparian zone with diverse plant life will help sustain clean water and support the surrounding ecosystem.

Managing Erosion and Runoff

Erosion can increase sedimentation in the water and reduce overall water quality. Planting native plant species along the shoreline or installing riprap are two easy ways to reduce erosion near the water’s edge and help preserve water quality. Plant root systems help to stabilize soils and protect shorelines from erosion.

Stormwater runoff is another threat to water quality since stormwater often introduces pollutants like sediment and chemicals into fish habitats. This is another reason that vegetative buffers are so important for ensuring fish have clean water.

Runoff is also a reason to refrain from using chemicals like fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides near bodies of water on your property. Chemical contamination resulting from runoff can have devastating effects on fish habitats and populations. Consider using organic or natural alternatives instead and always follow proper application guidelines to reduce the overall environmental impact.

By researching your local ecosystem, protecting riparian zones, and managing runoff and erosion, you can contribute to the health and sustainability of fish habitats on your property. Best of luck on all of your land management projects and fishing expeditions this summer!

If you’ve got more questions about creating the perfect fishing paradise on your property, reach out to your local Land Professional today! 

About the Author
Bryce Berglund is National Land Realty’s Content Marketing Specialist. He is currently residing in Minnesota, where he attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Bryce is an appreciator of all things artistic, and likes to spend time at his cabin with his dog and family.