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Pennsylvania Reaching Out to Landowners about the Benefits of Streamside Buffers


Harrisburg, PA -- Today, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced “Buffer My Stream,” a program to encourage 10,000 Pennsylvania landowners with streams on their property to improve water quality and lessen erosion by planting native trees and shrubs along the water’s edge.

“Streamside buffers are a natural way for agricultural and residential landowners to create cleaner water and improve the stewardship of their land. Not all eligible landowners are aware of their value – and the purpose of this outreach is to bridge that gap,” Dunn said. “We want to make it easy for landowners to understand the benefits of streamside buffers and connect them with funding and experts available to guide them through the process.”

DCNR is committing $1.5 million to streamside buffer plantings this year. The department is leading the effort involving many partners from all levels of government and many non-profits who also plant and fund streamside buffers.

“While the efforts that are being taken to slow down the impacts of COVID-19 prevented some partner and volunteer plantings this spring, we are looking to the fall – which also is a good time for planting trees and shrubs – with all the necessary social distancing and safety measures in place,” Dunn said.

A new “Buffer My Stream” webpage specifically for landowners now provides straightforward information about the benefits of streamside buffers to water quality and property management, along with simple next steps to learn more and get help.

The outreach effort involves direct mail to residential and rural landowners in Adams, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lancaster, and York counties to encourage them to register for free technical assistance and funding to help them plant native trees and shrubs on their properties. Landowners are encouraged to contact DCNR for assistance with buffer design and funding by calling 717-705-2820  or through DCNR’s online contact form.

The outreach effort is supported by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

During the past four years, DCNR has provided $7.6 million in grants to partners for streamside forest buffers, making it easier for landowners to install them on their properties to improve water quality in their backyards and beyond.

Streamside tree and shrub plantings filter the runoff of pollutants from the land; control erosion; slow down runoff during heavy rains; provide privacy and shade; cool stream temperatures; and improve fish and pollinator habitat.

Pennsylvania has a goal of planting more than 86,000 acres of stream buffers statewide to improve rivers and streams in the commonwealth, and help the Chesapeake Bay.

MEDIA CONTACT: Christina Novak, 717-579-5177

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