June 26th, 2014 by

By Caroline Brooks, Communications Intern

Throughout National Rivers Month, we have taken a look at American Forests’ efforts to preserve rivers across the country.

American Forests is helping restore damages to the White River through reforestation.  Photo: Selbe & Lily/Flickr

American Forests is helping restore damages to the White River through reforestation.
Photo: Selbe & Lily/Flickr

The Washington and New Mexico Global ReLeaf projects we discussed demonstrate the importance of trees to the rivers and, in turn, to the animals that rely on those rivers for survival.

Another Global ReLeaf project that illustrates this relationship began in 2013, when American Forests joined the U.S. Forest Service for the Riparian Tree Planting project in Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest. This project sought to restore areas of the forest damaged by Tropical Storm Irene. The 2011 storm caused flooding that severely impaired plant life along the state’s rivers.

The ReLeaf project came about to restore the habitat of the Atlantic salmon in Vermont’s White River. In order to achieve this restoration, American Forests, the U.S. Forest Service and local volunteers worked together to plant 4,000 trees to reforest the area. These trees have already had positive effects. Reforestation improves filtration of the water in the White River. The new trees also decrease water temperatures, improving conditions for the salmon. Additionally, the greenery serves as a food source and a habitat for some wildlife species.

As National Rivers Month comes to a close, I encourage you to continue to learn about preserving our country’s waterways.

Reading up on American Forests’ other Global ReLeaf efforts is one way to discover the integral role that rivers play in every ecosystem. Participating in local projects — perhaps a reforestation event — is another wonderful way to support waterways and ensure a future for the rivers that make America beautiful.