WHITE BEAR TOWNSHIP — When the lake was low, there was a sand beach at Bellaire. Now that the lake level has returned to normal, the beach has disappeared and, following suit, the shoreline.
Wave action, wind and ice dams are eroding lake frontage at the popular park, so the township hired a landscaping company to stop it. Sandstrom Land Management brought in heavy equipment to place 130 tons of boulders to "armor" the shoreline, as company owner Ryan Sandstrom described it. The riprap will be followed by native plantings in a 10-foot swath to further prevent erosion on each side of the paved access.
Based in Roseville, Sandstrom's company specializes in landscaping and native restoration as well as rain garden installation and erosion control.
Two watershed districts, Rice Creek and Ramsey County Soil and Water Conservation, pitched in $15,000 and $10,000, respectively, to fund the $38,000 project. The improvements, which include a sandy play area, will be completed by Memorial Day, when the beach opens.
Matoska Park dog beach is also getting riprap along 180 feet of shoreline. City Environmental Engineer Connie Taillon said numerous factors contributed to shoreline erosion at the site, including high lake levels, wave action, heavy foot traffic and a lack of deep-rooted vegetation.
That project, too, was awarded a Rice Creek Watershed District cost share grant.
— Debra Neutkens