Streamside Buffers

The permanent, vegetated strip adjacent to streams, lakes, ponds and wetlands is streamside or riparian buffer. This buffer is a natural ecosystem that consists of native trees, shrubs, vines and other plants.

Beyond adding beauty to the landscape, streamside buffers have many benefits:

  • falling leaves and twigs provide food, nutrients, and habitat for fish and aquatic organisms.
  • deep and extensive roots of native plants and trees keep the soil porous and absorbent, which slows down and absorbs storm water, reducing impacts of flooding.
  • stream banks are stabilized and protected from erosion as a dense root system helps hold sediment in place.
  • the vegetation within the buffers helps to filter out pollutants transported by storm water, keeping it from entering the waterway.
  • shade from the trees keeps stream water cooler. Cold water carries more dissolved oxygen which is of great benefit to aquatic animals.
  • tree roots under the water provide safe places for feeding, breeding, and nesting habitat for fish.

Here are a few examples submitted from properties across Pennsylvania: