Cellcom and Glas revamp shoreline

Shawano County’s waterways are a treasure enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Protecting and maintaining these waterways is a group effort, and Cellcom and Glas Coffeehouse recently put the finishing touches on a project to restore their shoreline along the Wolf River channel in Shawano by returning it to a more natural state.

The businesses removed invasive Pampas grass, which had previously been mowed, near the water and added a natural buffer zone along the water’s edge with native plants and mulch.

“Mowed grass typically has compacted soil and doesn’t do a good job to retain excess water, allowing runoff from rain to flow directly into the water, bringing along whatever pollutants or excess nutrients that were picked up as it moves along the ground, ultimately harming water quality,” said Scott Frank, Shawano County conservationist. “Additionally most lawn grasses have dense yet shallow roots, which does not promote long-term stability of the soil along waterways.”

The buffer will slow runoff water and naturally filter it before allowing it to seep more gradually into the waterway. The native plants used also have much deeper roots, which will make the shoreline much more stable in the long term and bring back a healthy habitat.

For customers who enjoyed the view with their coffee, the updates also promise to be aesthetically pleasing.

“It’s a win-win for us,” said Joe Gazeley, team leader at Glas Coffeehouse. “We beautified our shoreline and improved water quality, adding another element to our mission of being green and minimizing our impact on the environment.

“We invite the public to come check it out. This sort of work is not only beautiful, it’s also functional and reasonably easy to accomplish on other shoreline properties. We’re happy to serve as an educational tool for those who may be interested in learning more.”

Glas and Cellcom took advantage of a cost-sharing grant offered by the Shawano County Land Conservation Department. Through the program, property owners can submit proposals and receive 50 percent cost-sharing on shoreline restoration projects up to $2,500 per property.

Funding is still available. For information, contact Frank at 715-526-4632 or scott.frank@co.shawano.wi.us.