Stream Stewardship: Streamside: Riparian Buffers

Riparian Buffers

This section provides more detailed information about the importance of riparian buffers, instructions about streamside planting, a list of Catskill native trees and shrubs and where to get them and other guidance about proper management of the streamside area.

Click here for a diagram about buffer functions

Click here for more information about how to plant a buffer

Click here for the Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative Page - This program assists landownwers with technical and financial assistance for their riparian buffers.

Click here for a map of riparian buffer restoration projects as of December 31, 2009.

Native Trees, Shrubs and Forbs (Grasses) for Different Purposes

Click on topics within the boxes below for a list of native plants for various planting purposes.

Seasonal Interest
Plant Attributes
Range of Conditions
Extreme Conditions
Specific Purpose
Wet To Dry
Hot, Dry
Streambank Stabilization
Sun To Shade
Very Shady
Deer Resistant
Small Mammals
Various Soils
Very Wet
Lawn Alternatives
Other Wildlife
Clay/Rocky Soils
Rain Garden

Click here for native plant vendor list

In addition to allowing the growth of diverse streamside buffers, properly dispose of yard and household waste.

Unfortunately, some people think of streams as garbage dumps. Debris can become a hazard during floods, and it can pose a threat to our groundwater. Remove old tires, garbage, and litter from your property and store these materials as far from the stream as possible. Waste from pets and livestock is a significant source excess nutrients and bacteria. Dispose of your pet’s waste in the trash and store and livestock manure properly. Finally, hazardous substance such as paints, thinners, solvents, grease, oil, carpet cleaning water, pool and spa water and detergents should not be dumped into streams, septics or stormwater collection systems. Your town or county may sponsor a day (i.e. Clean Sweep in Delaware County) to collect household hazard waste. Using alternatives, or reusing and recycling hazardous fluids and other products, can reduce the amount of waste produced in the first place.

Links and Resources

Click on the links below for more information:

> Look up specific plants to find out whether they are native to New York State and to learn about their characteristics.
> Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve Plant Index
> Center for Watershed Protection
> Chesapeake Bay Forest Buffer Program
> Connecticut River website & factsheets
> EPA – Source Book on Natural Landscaping for Public Officials
> Hudson River Estuary Program: Trees for Tribs contact info
> Pennsylvania DCNR: Landscaping with native plants
> Plant Conservation Alliance
> Westchester County: A Guide to Aquatic Buffers (3.8 MB)

Site condition assessment

> Inventory, Classification and Description of Riparian Natural Community Reference Types for West Kill Watershed, NY, 2009
> Springfield Township
> The Reveg Edge
> USDA Plants database
> VT ANR Riparian Buffer Documents
> Wild Ones
> Wild Type
> Gardening Tips
> How To Install A Rain Garden
> Riparian Buffer Dos and Don'ts
> Streambank Revegetationand Protection - Alaska Dept of Fish and Game
> Conserving Natural Areas and Wildlife in Your Community - NYSDEC

Ways To Get Involved

Catskill Streams Buffer Initiaive - The goal of the CSBI is to inform and assist landowners in better stewardship of their riparian (streamside) area through protection, enhancement, management, or restoration.

Click on the links below for more information:

Riparian Health Checklist
Riparian Health Assessment
Stream Releaf Program

Click here for further reading

For more information, e-mail info@catskillstreams.org

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