Building Better Buffers
Planting native gardens for water and people
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, with matching support from the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, has funded the MWA to restore riparian habitat for fish and wildlife in the Musconetcong Watershed.
MWA plans to work with residential and commercial landowners, and municipal and county officials to plant natural native gardens that will promote clean water on river-front property
Why Native Gardening?
Grass alone is often not enough to prevent unfiltered water from entering and polluting local waterways. During heavy rainfall, a thoughtfully constructed riparian buffer, comprised of native perennials, ferns, grasses, and shrubs stand a better chance at preventing streambank erosion and property flooding.
Photo credit: Maryland Department of Agriculture
Native grasses, trees, and shrubs have deeper root systems than turf grasses. Their deep and interwoven roots help prevent stream bank erosion during high flows.
A riparian zone is the area of land alongside a river or body of water.
Allowing for a buffer of native plants along our streams and tributaries protects stream banks, filters pollutants, and protects streamside properties.
Native buffers can also serve as a corridor for wildlife such as birds and pollinators. Most wildlife that we want to attract to our landscape are actually very picky eaters! Since plants are the basis of the food chain without natives most wildlife cannot thrive.
Photo credit: Natural Resources Conservation Service
MWA has resources to assist landowners with riparian buffer planting and streamside landscaping on their property. We also have opportunities to volunteer with native plantings within our watershed.
Email Annie Polkowski, Watershed Programs Coordinator, for more information or a property assessment.
Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service