With Earth Day and Arbor Day celebrations of last week fresh in our minds, there is much we can do around our own yard to help the environment and our local water quality - like planting native plants, and reducing our use of fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides. But those of us who live on a stream have a unique opportunity to make a big ecological impact by planting native trees and shrubs.
We recently received a grant in the Euclid Creek through the Lake Erie Protection Fund, to provide free native trees and shrubs to streamside property owners in the Watershed. 105 households signed up for the plant distribution and are going to plant native trees and shrubs along nearly 4 miles of Euclid Creek this weekend!
What is a Riparian Buffer?
The riparian area is the land alongside a stream or river that directly affects—or is affected by—the water. A riparian buffer is a green corridor along a river or stream that separates the water from surrounding land uses. Healthy riparian buffers contain trees, shrubs, and other vegetation that protects both the stream and streamside property.
In the Euclid Creek Watershed, as in many places throughout the world, many of our riparian buffers have been cleared in order to make additional space for lawns, houses, fields and roads. The lack of healthy riparian buffers has contributed to stream bank instability and erosion, diminished water quality, and habitat degradation.
Properly maintained riparian buffers stabilize stream banks, decrease high storm flows, filter nutrients and sediment from storm water, provide essential habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife, and increase property values.
The Euclid Creek Watershed Action Plan states that restoring and protecting functioning riparian corridors along the streams of the Euclid Creek is the single most important action that can be taken to maintain water quality in the stream and to minimize problems from future development.
Here is a great resource for planning and implementing your own riparian planting: Woods for Waters guide (click here)