Training and Certification Information

  Photos by Jane Herbert                         

An objective of the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership is to provide contractors and landscape professionals with the information and skills they need to implement natural shoreline technologies and bioengineered erosion control to protect Michigan's inland lakes.
Professionals that complete the Michigan Certified Natural Shoreline Professional training can become certified, indicating to potential clients that you provide lake-friendly, environmentally sound shoreline management solutions.

Three days of classroom instruction and a one-day field exercise designed to equip landscape, marine, and natural resource professionals to design, implement, and maintain natural shoreline landscapes on inland lakes.
Classroom instruction includes topics on:
  • Michigan lakes and problems associated with shoreline development
  • Characteristics and benefits of natural shorelines
  • Shoreline ecosystems, soils, and native plants
  • Methods, techniques, and design of bioengineered shoreline erosion control
  • Designing, monitoring, and maintaining a natural shoreline landscape
  • Natural shoreline case studies
  • Water law and shoreline development permits

One day field exercise installing a natural shoreline landscape on an inland lake property

Photos by Jane Herbert                            

MCNSP Field Project Video


Completion of the in-class instruction and field exercise and passing of the certification exam leads to certification.  Certification is valid for three years.  Re-certification requires obtaining six continuing education units during your certification period and a re-certification fee.

 Benefits of becoming a MCNSP

  • Michigan Certified Natural Shoreline Professional identifies you as a professional trained in the use of "Green" landscaping technologies and bioengineered erosion control for the protection of Michigan inland lakes.  MCNSP is approved by the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership.
  • Your name and contact information will be posted on the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership website as a Preferred Certified Contractor.  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will refer interested parties to this list on their website.
  • You will receive in-depth training on the State of Michigan's permit requirements and process for soft shoreline construction.
 Calendar of Training Events: 

Certified Natural Shoreline Professional to be offered in East Lansing, MI in 2015.  Click here for MCNSP 2015 Registration Form.

The Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership is pleased to announce that registration is now open for its 2015 Certified Natural Shoreline Professional training course in East Lansing, Michigan on the campus of Michigan State University.

This certification program, designed for marine and landscape contractors working on inland lake shorelines, will equip you to expand your business to better serve lakefront property owners looking for alternatives to turf grass and sea wall to the water’s edge. Through classroom and field sessions you will learn: •
The relationship between lakes and their shorelines
Shoreline soils, plants and ecosystems (including native plant communities)
Michigan water law and how to complete a successful permit application
How to assess a shoreline property for problems and potential
Methods, techniques and designs for natural shoreline landscaping and bioengineered (plant-based) erosion control

Certification is through the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership. To receive certification, you must: 1) complete two full days of classroom instruction, 2) complete one full day of hands-on field instruction, and 3) pass the certification exam. Please note that the East Lansing course is the only CNSP course being offered in 2015. Please see session dates and details on the registration form included in this issue of The Michigan Landscape. Register soon as seating is limited. If you have questions about the program please email Dr. Robert Schutzki at, phone 517-420-4041.