Master Watershed Steward Lynda Hartzell and Gabriel Sulpizio plant trees in York County.
Clean water grows on trees! Chesapeake Bay Foundation - Pennsylvania launched the Keystone 10 Million Tree Partnership the last week of April. The Partnership is a collaborative effort across the Pennsylvania portion of the Bay watershed, with a goal of planting 10 million new trees before the end of 2025. As a project partner, Penn State Extensions’ Master Watershed Stewards in York County, helped plant 400 trees in two townships between Earth Day and Arbor Day.
Together with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the York County Conservation District and Dover High School, Master Watershed Stewards planted 100 trees in Carroll Township along a tributary to the Yellow Breeches. Master Watershed Stewards also teamed up with West Manchester Township and some boy scouts to plant almost 300 trees along a tributary to the Little Conewago Creek. Why plant trees? Sediments, nutrients and other pollutants run off the land into Pennsylvania streams, rivers and lakes during rain events. Runoff from construction sites, farms, urban areas and roadways contributes pollution to Pennsylvania’s waterways. These forms of non-point source pollution present health risks to humans and also threaten aquatic ecosystems by degrading water quality, increasing erosion and flooding, increasing property damage and threatening wildlife and other important ecosystems.
One of the most effective best management practices landowners can do to help protect water quality is to create riparian buffers – vegetated areas next to waterways. The wider the buffer and the more diverse the planting, the greater the benefit. Trees and other vegetation in the buffer help trap sediment, nutrients and pollution, recharge groundwater, cool water temperatures, provide important structure to the water ecosystem and increase wildlife habitat. Planting riparian buffers is a key strategy used to help protect Pennsylvania’s 86,000 miles of streams and rivers.
If you would like to help plant trees and are not a landowner, contact a local conservation group to get started. By planting native trees in riparian buffers, you are contributing a valuable natural resource that will help improve water quality, benefiting both humans and wildlife. Trees really do help clean water!
To learn more about the many benefits of riparian buffers, visit Penn State Extension's Water website and to learn more about the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, visit their website