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Unconsolidated shores are highly dynamic systems altered by changing lake levels, wave activity, sedimentation and erosion. They include beaches, bars and flats, and are regularly flooded and redistributed by the action of tides or currents. Because conditions are constantly changing, they generally do not have vegetation other than pioneer plants, which grow for brief periods of time. Despite this lack of vegetation, these lands are valuable foraging grounds for wading birds.
As much of the shoreline around Lake St. Clair has been "hardened" or reinforced with riprap, retaining walls or breakwaters, the natural processes that contributed to beach deposition and sandbar formation are being eliminated. According to C-CAP satellite data from 2000 there are only about 750 acres of unconsolidated shores within the project area.
For more information, see: Coastal Habitat Assessment, Section IV (PDF)