Shagbark hickory, one of the many native species being planted.

Shagbark hickory, one of the many native species being planted. Credit: dendroica/Flickr

About the Riparian Resotration — Western Pennsylvania Conservancy ReLeaf Project:

Volunteers will plant 4,500 trees will be planted along watersheds on Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC)-protected land. These waterways are in need of riparian restoration that will increase each watershed’s conservation value.

ReLeaf Location:

Allegheny County, Penn.

Key ReLeaf Activities:

  • Plant 4,500 trees along riparian zones in priority watersheds.
  • Stabilize stream bank and increase removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from runoff.
  • Increase awareness in priority watersheds through outreach, education and written materials.

Why This ReLeaf Project?

Since 2001, WPC’s Watershed Conservation Program has been working with private landowners and local and state agencies to restore stream and river corridors throughout the region. To date, more than 312,000 feet of stream banks have been restored and more than 1,100 acres have planted with trees and other vegetation.

Why Riparian Buffers?

Significant research suggests that there are many long term benefits from forested riparian buffers including protection from accelerated erosion, protection from pollutants and nutrients entering streams, creation of wildlife habitat, cooler stream temperatures and improvement of overall water quality through natural filtration. Forested buffers also help alleviate downstream flooding problems. Vegetation along streams also provides cover for a variety of game species that can provide a recreational benefit to hunters.