Promoting Wise Management of Natural Resources in Greene County, New York Since 1961

GCSWCD hosts SCA Hudson Valley Corps members for riprian buffer projects on the Schoharie Creek

The Student Conservation Association (SCA) teamed up with the Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District (GCSWCD) and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) on 20160911 220543 resizedSeptember 11, 2016 as part of a weekend service project for the Patriot's Day of Service.

Over 40 SCA Hudson Valley Corps members gathered in Hunter for a planting project to restore riparian (streamside) buffers in the NYC watershed. In five hours, the hardworking Corps members installed a total of 2,335 native trees and shrubs, 250 feet of willow fascines, and 180 live willow stakes within riparian buffer zones along the Schoharie Creek.

Riparian buffers are vegetated or undisturbed natural areas along a stream, usually forested with a variety of grasses, shrubs, and trees. Healthy IMG 2898 K resized2riparian buffers help to protect a waterbody by improving water quality, increasing habitat for animals, stabilizing streambanks, providing stream shade and temperature control, and improving flood control.

Split into two project sites along the Schoharie Creek, the Corps members restored riparian buffers by planting pioneer species such as gray birch and white pine, along with common riparian species like red osier dogwood, elderberry, and buttonbush. Tree and shrub species were chosen for their ability to produce a deep rooting system and stabilize the soil, which helps to prevent streambank erosion. In an additional effort to increase soil stabilization, willow fascines and live willow stakes were installed on a portion of streambank that experienced significant erosion after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. Willow fascines and live willow stakes are both bioengineering techniques that use live cuttings harvested from existing willows. The cuttings will eventually root and grow into new willow plants, and their high rate of growth and deep rooting system are perfect for streambank stabilization projects.

Watershed residents play a critical role as stewards of water quality. For these two projects, landowners along the Schoharie Creek agreed to install 50-100 foot riparian buffers along the streambank where there had previously been only grass. For more information about riparian buffers and program eligibility for Schoharie Watershed residents, visit our Catskill Stream Buffer Initiative page or contact Laura Weyeneth at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 518-622-3620.

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