Biglerville, PA -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today joined Knouse Foods Cooperative officials, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and a host of partners for the kickoff of a streamside forest buffer planting at the fruit grower owned cooperative operations in Biglerville to improve the water quality of an unnamed tributary to the Conewago Creek, and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.
“This streamside forest buffer and meadows project sets an example for large landowners and customers that sustainable practices are good for business, our environment, and our communities,” Dunn said. “By involving students and volunteers, Knouse Foods is getting people engaged and empowered to work on solutions for water quality and resiliency.”
Statewide, Pennsylvania has a goal of planting 95,000 acres of forest buffers along waterways. The Knouse project includes planting 3.25 acres of forest buffers and 13 acres of lawn converted to native meadow habitat at four different locations.
“Among their many benefits, streamside buffers and native meadows help address and offset the impacts of climate change by holding and storing carbon, slowing down flooding caused by severe weather, requiring less mowing, cooling the water as summer temperatures reach new levels, and providing food and shelter for pollinators and wildlife,” Dunn said.
During the Wolf Administration, DCNR is leading the work with many partners to plant trees and shrubs along streams for water quality, with accomplishments including:
Creating a watershed forestry team, an advisory group with more than 60 members and partners, and holding an annual summit;
Providing almost $7 million dollars in grant funds for streamside forest buffers;
Conducting Buffer My Stream landowner outreach;
Attracting more than $4.45 million in federal grants and allocating more than $2 million in federal funds for projects;
Collaborating on a reporting and tracking tool that allows the commonwealth to report successes to the federal government; and
Working with the corrections system and other partners to train workers to plant and maintain buffers.
The secretary’s visit to Knouse Foods Cooperative is part of the 2021 Sustainability Tour, which also included an announcement that new solar arrays will take Presque Isle State Park to net zero energy, and a demonstration of battery-powered and efficient chain saws, string trimmers, and leaf blowers now in place at 20 state parks.
More information for property owners about buffering your stream and sharing your backyard with nature is on the DCNR website.
Christina Novak, 717-579-5177