Rip rap is a hard barrier that will prevent erosion, but it does not help maintain a healthy pond. If you have turf grass down to the water line, then a No Mow Zone is a good start in preserving the shoreline, because it restricts heavy mowing machinery from compacting and eroding the bank. Still, when the grass is trimmed with handheld trimmers, care must be taken to keep the grass clippings out of the pond. Ideally the No Mow Zone is densely planted with a variety of native shrubs and grasses which have root structures that are better able to hold the bank and can “clean” runoff from adjacent yards and roads. A No Mow turf buffer is a first step (good) and planted buffers are the next step (better). See the Healthy Ponds Guide for details.