Streamside forests: keys to the living landscape.
Under siege from pollution and overuse overuse Health care The common use of a particular intervention even when the benefits of the intervention don't justify the potential harm or cost–eg, prescribing antibiotics for a probable viral URI. Cf Misuse, Underuse. , these once-overlooked biological hot spots hot spots
acute moist dermatitis. are now heralded as the lifeblood of our ecosystems.
There's no sign that the Chesapeake Bay Chesapeake Bay, inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, c.200 mi (320 km) long, from 3 to 30 mi (4.8–48 km) wide, and 3,237 sq mi (8,384 sq km), separating the Delmarva Peninsula from mainland Maryland. and Virginia. is anywhere near Jerry Stautberg's farm. Peer into the distance from the highest hill, and the view is of rolling Maryland Piedmont countryside. Nonetheless, Stautberg is working hard to save the Bay. He's planting trees - more than 10,000 of them so far, and more are on the way.
The seedlings are being planted in a 50-foot-wide strip along the Little Gunpowder Falls River Falls River may refer to:
The land adjacent to a stream. forests, long overlooked and neglected, are now recognized as a critical link between urban and rural lands, ecosystems - and people. Like on many other farms in the region, cattle had randomly wandered through the stream on Stautberg's property, grazing along its edge, trampling the banks into mud, and depositing their wastes into the water. Rainstorms washed in so much sediment the stream looked like chocolate milk.
Then one day the local chapter of Trout Unlimited Trout Unlimited is an international non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of freshwater streams, rivers, and associated upland habitats for trout, salmon, other aquatic species, and people. Often contracted as "TU," the organization began in 1959 in Michigan. came calling. Its members envisioned turning the Little Gunpowder into a trout stream. While much of the lower part of the river was forested and offered good habitat, its ability to support fish was greatly reduced: The water that rolled off the upstream farms was too warm - and too polluted with sediments and animal wastes - to support high-quality fish habitat.
"We knew unless we could fix the temperature problem, we weren't going to have trout," says Scott McGill, one of the fishermen. "We had a drink with Jerry and basically laid out our study and told him what we found. We told him to really improve things, he needed to get the cows out of the stream and get the buffers along it."
Stautberg was interested. So McGill got him in touch with Mike Huneke, a watershed forester with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' Forest Service. While most foresters work with huge tracts, Huneke's job is to get forest strips planted along the Little Gunpowder Falls and other rivers in the area that have been identified as particularly susceptible to erosion. So much land has eroded since the area was settled that the village of Joppatown, located near the river's mouth and a seaport in Colonial days, is now landlocked landlocked adj. referring to a parcel of real property which has no access or egress (entry or exit) to a public street and cannot be reached except by crossing another's property. . To get trees in the ground, Huneke works with grassroots groups to help make a case to landowners, who are sometimes skeptical of government workers. "Mike's a great guy," McGill notes, "but he does wear a DNR See dynamic noise reduction and domain name resolver. uniform."
By combining state and federal programs, Huneke puts together financial packages that can cover most of the cost of fencing off the stream, planting trees, and paving special crossings for cattle to use. The result: Erosion is quickly reduced, the stream bank is stabilized, cow manure is kept out of the stream, and the water begins to run clearer. In a few years, shade from the trees will begin to cool the water and fallen limbs will begin to form pools - rebuilding fish habitat that vanished centuries ago.
"My father told me that you planted trees for posterity, and I just hope that I'm around long enough to see these things "These Things" is an EP by She Wants Revenge, released in 2005 by Perfect Kiss, a subsidiary of Geffen Records. Music Video
The music video stars Shirley Manson, lead singer of the band Garbage. Track Listing
1. "These Things [Radio Edit]" - 3:17
2. take root and see what effect we're going to have," says Stautberg, who has been so impressed by how quickly the water flowing through his pastures has cleared that he plans to sell the notion to other landowners. "I could talk seriously to anybody about the program because I'm all for it. We're going to go ahead and do some more this year."
That's something state and federal officials working to clean up the Chesapeake want to hear. Because what Stautberg and his neighbors are doing adds up to more than just better fishing for McGill and his pals. When grown, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Huneke's calculations, the 18.5 acres of trees planted on Stautberg's farm last year will keep 17,500 pounds of nitrogen and 2,500 pounds of phosphorus a year from entering the stream and eventually the Bay.
"My feeling is, it's the most important job that we do in the Chesapeake Bay watershed," Huneke says. "It's the biggest bang for the buck that we can do to enhance the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay, and that's been proven."
What Huneke did on the Stautberg farm reestablished a link between land and water that had been severed by nearly 400 years of human activity. When Captain John Smith explored the Chesapeake in 1608, he reported that it was a land "overgrown overgrown
said of a part that has not been kept trimmed.
overgrown hooves put unusual stresses on bones and tendons and allow for distortion of the wall and sole. with trees," and that the region's "clear rivers and brooks" fed a "faire Bay." Four centuries later, there is a growing realization that the clear rivers and "faire Bay" are closely related to the trees.
As the trees were cleared, streams began to turn brown with sediment and bottom-dwelling fish began to disappear. Archaeologists working at St. Mary's City, the first capital of Maryland, found that colonists in the 1600s and early 1700s filled their diets with such bottom dwellers as sturgeon sturgeon, primitive fish of the northern regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. Unlike evolutionarily advanced fishes, it has a fine-grained hide, with very reduced scalation, a mostly cartilaginous skeleton, upturned tail fins, and a mouth set well back on the , sheepshead sheepshead
Species (Archosargus probatocephalus) of popular edible sport fish in the porgy family, common along southern North American Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts. , red drum, black drum The black drum (Pogonias cromis) is a saltwater fish similar to its cousin, the red drum. It is the only species in the genus Pogonias. Though most specimens are generally found in the 5-30lb range, the black drum is well known as the largest of all the drum , and perch. By the end of the 1700s, those fish disappeared from Colonial diets: The St. Mary's River had become too filled with silt to support them.
As went the St. Mary's, so went much of the Chesapeake, its tributaries, and many other rivers across the nation. Forest clearing and subsequent land development sent tides of sediment and other pollutants into waterways. By the late 1700s, habitat destruction Habitat destruction is a process of land use change in which one habitat-type is removed and replaced with another habitat-type. In the process of land-use change, plants and animals which previously used the site are displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversity. had caused serious declines of Atlantic salmon Atlantic salmon
Oceanic trout species (Salmo salar), a highly prized game fish. It averages about 12 lbs (5.5 kg) and is marked with round or cross-shaped spots. Found on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, it enters streams in the fall to spawn. . A century later, the Michigan grayling grayling, common name for a brilliantly colored fish belonging to the genus Thymallus, of the family Salmonidae (salmon family), and closely allied to the smelt. Graylings are found chiefly in clear, cold, fresh waters of the Northern Hemisphere. went extinct as unregulated logging of the Great Lakes Great Lakes, group of five freshwater lakes, central North America, creating a natural border between the United States and Canada and forming the largest body of freshwater in the world, with a combined surface area of c.95,000 sq mi (246,050 sq km). pine forests ruined the streams. Today, the destruction of streamside forests is considered one of the factors in the decline of Northwest salmon.
The United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. has more than 3.2 million miles of rivers and streams. Most of these, historically, were either lined with trees or flowed through vast forests. Trees in these near-water or "riparian riparian adj. referring to the banks of a river or stream. (See: riparian rights) " areas are critical transition zones between land and water. Yet that link has been largely removed in much of the country, replaced by farms, manicured lawns, and city pavement. A 1982 survey by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), independent agency of the U.S. government, with headquarters in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1970 to reduce and control air and water pollution, noise pollution, and radiation and to ensure the safe handling and and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that 81 percent of the nation's fish communities were impacted by adverse environmental conditions. Populations in at least half the nation's streams were limited by bad habitat.
"One of the most devastating dev·as·tate
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.
2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark. things we did in the East in the first 300 years of settlement was to remove all the trees from along the streams," says Bernard Sweeney, director of the Academy of Natural Sciences' Stroud Water Research Center, where he has been studying the links between forests and Eastern streams for more than two decades.
Forests provided the "natural" environment for streams, and when trees are removed, the conditions for many fish are dramatically - and adversely - affected. Here's how: Tree roots help stabilize stream banks to prevent erosion. The canopy of leaves or needles provides shade, cooling the water and moderating temperature shifts that can drive away sensitive species such as trout and salmon. Leaves also regulate the amount of light reaching the streams, which helps determine the amount and type of algae algae (ăl`jē) [plural of Lat. alga=seaweed], a large and diverse group of primarily aquatic plantlike organisms. These organisms were previously classified as a primitive subkingdom of the plant kingdom, the thallophytes (plants that - the very base of the food chain - that grow. Some aquatic insects Aquatic insects live some portion of their life cycle in the water. They feed in the same ways as other insects. Some diving insects, such as predatory diving beetles, can hunt for food underwater where land-living insects cannot compete. have evolved mouths specifically designed to scrape the algae off stream bottoms in dimly lit forests; they can't eat the surface-dwelling species that thrive in cleared streams.
Leaves and needles provide most of the food - or energy - that drives the stream ecosystem. It is a major nutrient source for the algae, food for bacteria, as well as dinner and breeding ground for many stream insects. Despite the huge amount of leaves that enter a stream in the fall, Sweeney has found that a leaf has little chance of traveling even 200 yards without something eating it. But when the trees are removed and the area is overgrown with non-native plants, as typically happens in the East, those building blocks of the food chain are sometimes eliminated.
Not only does the removal of the adjacent forest shake the food chain by its very roots, it also takes away the most critical part of the stream's physical structure: large woody debris. This mass of fallen trees and broken limbs, which accumulates in any forested waterway, is critical to the stream environment (see Thumbs Up for Streams' High-Fiber Diet high-fiber diet High-residue diet, high-roughage diet Nutrition A diet with
≥ 13–20 g/day of crude dietary fiber. Cf Low-fiber diet. , page 39). Logs can deflect the current, widening the stream and exposing more of the rocky substrate used by insects and many fish to lay their eggs. At the same time, piles of limbs and trunks form natural dams that trap sediments moving down the stream and create pools where many fish will spend much of their time. These "microenvironments" of pools, riffles, and glides (transitions between the two) support almost entirely different communities, though separated by only a few feet. As tree limbs decay over the years, they slowly release nutrients for aquatic organisms into the stream.
Benefits don't end at the water's edge. Turtles, mink, river otters, beavers, and muskrats are only some of the animals for whom riparian forests are an important habitat. Studies have found migrating birds are attracted to corridors of riparian forests. In Arizona, where 95 percent of the streamside habitat has been degraded, 85 percent of the wildlife depends on what remains. Likewise, in urban areas, riparian forests may be the refuge of last resort for a variety of animals. Riparian areas are particularly important for amphibians amphibians
members of the animal class Amphibia. Includes frogs, toads, newts, salamanders and cecilians all capable of living on land or in water. , which appear to be undergoing a worldwide decline.
"Riparian areas are usually 5 percent or less of the watershed, and yet they really provide a disproportionately large number of services and values for that watershed," says Russell LaFayette, program manager for the U.S. Forest Service's watershed improvement and riparian management section. "Everything wants to be there. Food is there, shade is there, water is there, and cover is there. Almost everything that lives and breathes wants to be there, so we've tended to overuse them in many places."
For centuries the area between streams and uplands were not considered links to anything. Instead, people thought of them as edges: the boundary of the town, the state, or the farm. Human interference did not stop at the water's edge, though. Tree limbs and trunks were considered hazards to navigation and routinely removed. Until recently the government sent crews into Northwest forests to dynamite logjams, thinking the mass of woody debris was bad for migrating salmon. Today, the government is sending crews back into those same woods to restore debris.
The removal, and outright destruction, of riparian forests has been remarkably thorough. Almost everything in the eastern United States has been logged. Even on western federal lands, where management agencies have enacted stringent regulations to protect riparian forests in the past two decades, the congressional General Accounting Office found 90 percent of the streams to be degraded. Throughout the nation, the destruction has been so systematic that no one actually knows what a natural riparian system would look like in many settings.
"If you were to try to look for old-growth forest riparian ecosystems in the Oregon Coast Range The Oregon Coast Range is a mountain range running north-south in western Oregon that extends over 200 miles from the Columbia River on the border of Oregon and Washington south to the middle fork of the Coquille River in the United States. , which goes from the Columbia River Columbia River
River, southwestern Canada and northwestern U.S. Rising in the Canadian Rockies, it flows through Washington state, entering the Pacific Ocean at Astoria, Ore.; it has a total length of 1,240 mi (2,000 km). to California, you would be hard-pressed," says Robert Beschta, a professor of forest engineering at Oregon State University Oregon State University, at Corvallis; land-grant and state supported; coeducational; chartered 1858 as Corvallis College, opened 1865. In 1868 it was designated Oregon's land-grant agricultural college and was taken over completely by the state in 1885. . "They're gone. When you look at commercial forest-lands in the state of Oregon, as an example, something like 95 percent of it has timber less than 100 years old. It's been cut over. Even out here, where people think we have millions of acres of old-growth left, mature riparian forest ecosystems are in short supply."
For the past several years, Richard Schultz Richard Schultz was one of the prosecutors in the Chicago Seven trial that took place in the late 1960s.
Schultz, then an assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, attended DePaul University College of Law. has been planting trees on the banks of Bear Creek Bear Creek may refer to: Communities
ISU is best known for its degree programs in science, engineering, and agriculture. ISU is also home of the world's first electronic digital computing device, the Atanasoff–Berry Computer. . "They spent their lives getting rid of trees."
The problem Schultz is trying to cure is more than aesthetic, though. Nitrate from fertilizers and animal waste has saturated the groundwater; shallow wells routinely exceed EPA EPA eicosapentaenoic acid.
n.pr See acid, eicosapentaenoic.
n. drinking water drinking water
supply of water available to animals for drinking supplied via nipples, in troughs, dams, ponds and larger natural water sources; an insufficient supply leads to dehydration; it can be the source of infection, e.g. leptospirosis, salmonellosis, or of poisoning, e.g. standards during parts of the year. In many rural areas, communities are pooling resources to avoid the contamination by drilling deeper wells. And in flowing streams such as Bear Creek, nitrate levels may hit 25 parts per million parts per million
mg/kg or ml/l; see ppm. - two-and-a-half times the EPA standard - for months at a time during the spring and summer, polluting downstream drinking water. Des Moines Des Moines, city, United States
Des Moines (dĭ moin`), city (1990 pop. 193,187), state capital and seat of Polk co., S central Iowa, at the junction of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers; inc. has spent millions of dollars installing equipment to remove nitrogen from its water supply.
By planting a 66-foot-wide strip that incorporates trees, shrubs, prairie grasses, and wetlands, Schultz has found that 80 to 90 percent of the nitrogen can be removed, knocking even the highest concentrations below EPA standards. In addition, 85 to 95 percent of the sediment running off the fields is trapped. The trees and shrubs stabilize the stream bank, further reducing the amount of sediment in the water. And as an added bonus, Schultz has found that atrazine atrazine
a triazine herbicide; it is not poisonous at levels of intake likely to be encountered in agriculture.
atrazine Toxicology A nonphytoestrogenic herbicide. See Phytoestrogen. - the most widely used agricultural herbicide herbicide (hr`bəsīd'), chemical compound that kills plants or inhibits their normal growth. A herbicide in a particular formulation and application can be described as selective or nonselective. - can be reduced by up to 90 percent, also bringing it below EPA standards in the water.
In much of the country, this benefit has caused a surge of interest in riparian forests. These areas were known to be important for fish and bugs, but in the past 15 years, scientists - almost by accident - have found they are also important to anyone who wants clean water. Researchers studying how water moved through agricultural watersheds in Georgia in the early 1980s discovered that as it passed through forests en route to a stream, huge amounts of nitrate, a form of nitrogen fertilizer, were removed. People began seeing a solution to the nation's most vexing water-quality problem: nonpoint source pollution Nonpoint source pollution (NPS) does not come from a single source like point source pollution. It comes from many different sources with no specific solution to rectify the problem, making it difficult to regulate. .
"There's tremendous interest all over the eastern U.S., and really all over the entire U.S.," says Richard Lorantz, of the USDA USDA,
n.pr See United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service in Tifton, Georgia Tifton is a city in Tift County, Georgia, United States. The population was 15,060 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Tift CountyGR6. Geography
Tifton is located at (31.463418, -83. , who published some of the first papers first papers
The documents first filed by one applying for U.S. citizenship. on the subject. "Not much time goes by without someone I don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. calling to find out what we know about riparian systems."
Unlike regulated "point source" pollution, which flows out of pipes at sewage treatment Sewage treatment
Unit processes used to separate, modify, remove, and destroy objectionable, hazardous, and pathogenic substances carried by wastewater in solution or suspension in order to render the water fit and safe for intended uses. plants or industries, nonpoint source pollution is runoff from farm fields, suburban lawns The Suburban Lawns were an American New Wave group from the late 1970s through the early 1980s.
Originating in the Southern California punk rock scene, the band consisted of:
For much of the nation, agricultural runoff has been particularly tough to control Crop fertilizers - primarily phosphorus and nitrogen - fuel large algae blooms when they reach the water. When that algae decays, it consumes oxygen in the water that is needed by fish. In places such as the Chesapeake Bay, huge areas can be totally depleted de·plete
tr.v. de·plet·ed, de·plet·ing, de·pletes
To decrease the fullness of; use up or empty out.
[Latin d of oxygen during the summer; anything that needs oxygen and can't swim away may die.
Suddenly, trees have emerged as a simple solution, at least in many regions. Between fields and water, forest strips can sponge up Verb 1. sponge up - absorb as if with a sponge; "sponge up the spilled milk on the counter"
imbibe, soak up, sop up, suck up, absorb, suck, take up, take in, draw - take in, also metaphorically; "The sponge absorbs water well"; "She drew strength from the huge amounts of nitrates in surface runoff Surface runoff is a term used to describe the flow of water, from rain, snowmelt, or other sources, over the land surface, and is a major component of the water cycle. and the shallow groundwater that passes through the "root zone."The buffers also trap most of the sediment runoff before it reaches streams, clogging the gills of fish and smothering smothering
death by asphyxiation. Occurs where poultry are carelessly herded into a corner where they cannot escape and where they are piled four or five birds deep; they will die of asphyxia very quickly. See also crowding. rocky stream bottoms. Because phosphorus tends to cling to sediments, much of it is trapped as well.
The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, which helps farmers design and pay for conservation practices, approved a nationwide standard for riparian forest buffers last fall. That move is expected to spur state offices into developing their own standards and promoting them to farmers. Likewise, the Forest Service, which in the past two decades has strengthened riparian forest protection on its own land, has stepped up efforts to promote forest buffers on private land, especially in the East and Midwest. "The riparian area is sort of the last line of defense before things that are running across the land get into the stream," Lafayette said. "So that buffer takes on a stronger and stronger importance as more and more of the land is cleared for whatever use."
The greatest test of that theory is underway in the vast Chesapeake Bay watershed, which reaches from southern Virginia into New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , and from West Virginia into Delaware. When John Smith arrived, it was about 95 percent forested; less than 60 percent is forested today. As the forests were lost, so was the Bay's water quality. Harvests of its famous oysters are at an all-time low and shad shad, fish, Alosa sapidissima, of the family Clupeidae (herring family), found along the Atlantic coast from Newfoundland to Florida and successfully introduced on the Pacific coast. The shad is one of the largest (6 lb/2. fishing has been banned. Beds of underwater grasses, which provide food and habitat for many species, are at about one-tenth their historic level because the sunlight is blocked by sediment-filled water and algae blooms. Ducks that once lived on these grasses no longer flock to the Bay; they fly farther south.
To help restore the Bay, Maryland has promoted forest buffers for the past decade, creating "watershed forester" positions to sell the concept to landowners. Today, Virginia and Pennsylvania have joined the cause: The governors of all three states, in partnership with federal agencies, have pledged by the end of this year to set a measurable goal and a timetable for riparian forest restoration in the watershed. Cleanup leaders are looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. more than just water-quality benefits: Building fish passages for troubled migratory species such as shad and river herring has been a major goal. But breaching those dams is pointless unless the fish find suitable habitat in the waters beyond. Riparian forests are an important part of that. The overall strategy is relatively simple, notes Albert Todd, the U.S. Forest Service liaison to the state/federal Chesapeake Bay Program The Chesapeake Bay Program is the regional partnership that directs and conducts the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. As a partnership, the Chesapeake Bay Program brings together members of various state, federal, academic and local watershed organizations to build and adopt . "If the natural system does all this stuff, why not put it to work for us?"
But no single agency is responsible for managing land along rivers. And land ownership along the 100,000 miles of rivers and streams in the Chesapeake watershed is divided among tens of thousands of individuals and communities. The strategy will mean finding ways to encourage people to retrofit forests on land often being used for something else. "You often feel like we're coming at it late in the game," Todd says. "In reality, it should have been a basic building block of sound watershed management."
Todd and a panel of more than two dozen representatives from state and federal agencies, citizens, and representatives of various interest groups are trying to define goals and develop incentives - such as tax breaks - to encourage landowners to voluntarily install forest buffers. But as good as riparian forests may be for streams and folks downstream, they may appear less beneficial to landowners. To builders, they are an added regulation. To farmers, and to some extent foresters, they take land out of production.
And it's not just the land planted as forest that is lost. Tall trees can shade adjacent crops, stunting their growth. Deer and raccoons that live in the forest can chew up large amounts of corn and other crops. Even worse from the perspective of some farmers, the forest might attract an endangered species endangered species, any plant or animal species whose ability to survive and reproduce has been jeopardized by human activities. In 1999 the U.S. government, in accordance with the U.S. , bringing regulations. And while large woody debris may be a boon to fish, it can be a nuisance to farmers, especially if a limb whacks a combine or other piece of equipment that passes by.
Even Stautberg, who has become a proponent of forest buffers, admits his situation is different from most farmers, since his main income comes from running a car dealership. "It's much more of a sacrifice to a full-time farmer who is tilling his ground to give up tillable acreage or pasture acreage," Stautberg says.
The Forest Service's Stewardship Incentive Program, which has been used to help fund forest buffers, has been targeted for elimination by Congress. The future of some agricultural programs that could encourage farmers to put land in forest buffers - and help pay for them - is uncertain as well. In Maryland, where "Treasure the Chesapeake" license plates are big sellers and the striped bass striped bass
moronesaxatilis. is on the state seal, officials hope that a recent law requiring developers to mitigate for the loss of trees will help. With the state's close link to the Bay, some see the success of forest buffers there as an indicator for the nation. "If buffers get shot down in Maryland, we're not going to get them anywhere," says David Welsh, of the U.S. Forest Service, who has written a design guide for forest buffers. "We have to make a sell in Maryland."
Though trees may be the natural system along the streams that feed the Bay, most landowners do not recognize it as part of a landscape. No one today is even sure what a "natural," wood-filled stream would look like. "There's been such a long cultural history of loss and change in many of these streams and rivers that many of us don't know what we've lost," Todd says.
Across the nation, citizen groups and others who realize something is wrong with their streams are taking action, but just replanting trees is not always enough. Some areas need to be returned to their original state, but restoration is a tricky concept; many riparian areas are so disturbed that, if left alone, they might never recover. In the mid-Atlantic states, for example, exotic species often dominate riverbanks; planting trees means all those weeds must be removed - and kept down - until trees have a chance to outgrow outgrow verb To change the relationship with a condition or structure by dint of ↑ age or size; while children outgrow clothing, and certain behaviors, they rarely outgrow diseases–eg, asthma them. Often, seedlings have to be protected from grazing deer, ground hogs, and other animals.
Likewise, some research in the Pacific Northwest has shown that unmanaged riparian areas do not automatically revert to forests of Douglas-fir and other conifers thought to be important for salmon streams. Once logged, many areas grew back not as conifers, but as hardwoods. Limbs and logs from hardwoods disintegrate and rot in a decade or less when they fall into the stream; woody debris from the native conifers can last a century. Historically, forest fires burnt out the hardwoods, but left the seeds of the conifers intact. If conifers are to regrow Re`grow´
v. i. & t. 1. To grow again.
The snail had power to regrow them all [horns, tongue, etc.]
- A. B. Buckley.
Verb 1. in these areas, they may need help. "They just do not grow in the dark," says Mike Newton, a professor of forest ecology at Oregon State University. Newton is experimenting with doing hardwood clearcuts right down to the stream, then replanting the areas with conifers.
Restoration is further complicated by the lack of undisturbed "reference" sites throughout the nation that would give scientists an idea of the plant communities, the amounts of woody debris, and other variables that might be expected in riparian areas. "The reference site is incredibly important, because without it you've got no basis for thinking about what you want to do out there," says Beschta of Oregon State. "It may be that you never can go back. It may be that what it once was is not what you want. But at least you're making a decision based on an understanding of where it once was."
Restoration goals will vary from site to site and often will never revert to pre-disturbed conditions. In Iowa, for example, farmers may agree to forest buffers, but they don't want them designed in a way that puts woody debris in the streams. It may be great for fish habitat, but it slows runoff, which can delay field cultivation. Likewise, most urban rivers and streams have no prospect of returning to their pre-settlement condition. But that does not mean there is no prospect for some level of restoration.
Take the once-denuded banks of the South Platte River South Platte River
River, Colorado and western Nebraska, U.S. The river rises in central Colorado and flows southeast and then northeast across the Nebraska boundary to join the North Platte River and form the Platte River. The South Platte is 442 mi (711 km) long. in the heavily urbanized Denver area. Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado have worked since 1990 to replant re·plant
To reattach an organ, limb, or other body part surgically to the original site.
An organ, limb, or body part that has been replanted. more than 10,000 trees along the river and its tributaries. Like many urban rivers, the Platte had become a blighted dumping ground, made even worse by a 1963 flood and ensuing flood-control projects. "They literally cleared the river bank and the entire riparian zone of all the native trees that happened to line the river," says Dos Chappell, executive director of Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. "But at the same time, they built a dam that does almost all of the flood control in that basin. So it was overkill overkill Vox populi An excess of anything ."
The plantings helped restore a natural feel to the greenway trail system that now runs along the river, as well as improved wildlife habitat. Funding came from diverse sources, including AMERICAN FORESTS' Global ReLeaf Fund, which contributed $107,500 in a six-year effort sponsored by Texaco. And just as wildlife needs refuge in an urban area, the riparian area gives the community a touch of the wild in its own backyard, bringing educational opportunities and a hands-on sense of stewardship to the neighborhoods.
"It's a good example of turning a river back into an asset rather than a junkpile," Chappell says. "It had been a river that was abused, like most inner-city rivers. Water quality was miserable. It became a dumping ground for raw sewage; a dumping ground for anybody who carted their junk to the river bank and dumped it in."
Ultimately, the health of the streams in the Pacific Northwest, the Chesapeake Bay, and other regions of the country may be measured by the number of trees on the bank. How many there are will be determined by the actions citizens are willing to take, and what kinds of incentives and programs they are willing to pay for.
"This is not an academic question," says Beschta. "This is a social question. It is a cultural question. And, ultimately, we're going to define where we're at as a society, and what we want to do."
RELATED ARTICLE: BRING BACK THE BETSIE BETSIE BBC Education Text to Speech Internet Enhancer
On March 28, 1989, people who lived along the Betsie River in northern Michigan found out in a single calamitous ca·lam·i·tous
Causing or involving calamity; disastrous.
ca·lami·tous·ly adv. day what a century's worth of degradation looks like. The Thompsonville Dam at the upper end of the river washed out, unleashing seven decades worth of sand and sediment that had eroded from upstream areas but been stockpiled behind the dam. "That spring, you could walk in the river and you would sink at least a foot in the sand," says Ann Kaminski who, with her husband George, had retired to live on the river in 1986. "The water was just roiling with sand and silt."
The sediment-laden water gouged away at the steep banks of the Betsie, adding even more to the river's sediment load. Gravel beds that had once suited spawning fish, and the insects they fed on, where smothered smoth·er
v. smoth·ered, smoth·er·ing, smoth·ers
a. To suffocate (another).
b. To deprive (a fire) of the oxygen necessary for combustion.
2. . Dead fish floated in the river, their gills packed with silt.
Residents along the river banded together, beginning by selling t-shirts to raise money. Ultimately, they began securing grants from state agencies, the EPA, and nonprofit groups including AMERICAN FORESTS, which made a section of the Betsie River one of its Global ReLeaf Forests (see sidebar on page 19). Volunteers and teams of inmates from the local prison began working to restore the Betsie. They used rocks and gravel to stabilize the bottom of the streambank, then planted grasses, shrubs, and trees to stabilize the rest of the bank and provide a shaded strip along the river.
What happened on the Betsie, in a sense, was an instant replay of what happened to rivers throughout northern Michigan a century ago when the pine forests were logged, streams became clogged, and the Michigan grayling went extinct. In many areas, though, efforts to restore those rivers have lagged.
"When things happen slowly, it's really hard to notice that it is getting progressively worse, because you're so used to seeing it," says Michelle Barnaby, a resource specialist with the Northwest Michigan Resource Conservation and Development Council, which helped bring citizens and local governments together on the Betsie project. "When you can see the sand washing through and what it's doing, they see their favorite fishing pool filling in, they really can see how important it is to keep the sediment out and plant trees."
- KARL BLANKENSHIP
RELATED ARTICLE: SONGBIRDS, BEAR, AND CANOEISTS WILL BENEFIT FROM RIPARIAN RESTORATION PROJECTS
Riparian areas reduce erosion, improve water quality, and make life easier for fish and wildlife. Eight riparian restoration projects are included among AMERICAN FORESTS' Global ReLeaf Forests, public lands damaged through natural disasters or human abuse. If you would like to help restore these sites, call 800/873-5323. Trees cost $1 each (10-tree minimum, please). Since 1990, the Global ReLeaf Forests program has planted nearly four million trees in 61 projects in 32 states.
Edward McCabe Preserve (Broadkill River near Milton) Seven acres of Nature Conservancy-owned land along the Broadkill River will be forested to stabilize soil where spoil from a mining operation was dumped along the riverbank. The 1,750 hardwood seedlings planted there will restore the forest corridor and provide habitat for neetropical songbirds, raptors, and other species.
Econofina Creek Water Management Area (Washington County) Econofina Creek, considered one of Florida's most pristine waterways and a favorite among canoeists, provides Panama City and other communities with potable potable /pot·a·ble/ (po´tah-b'l) fit to drink.
Fit to drink; drinkable.
fit to drink. water. A 220-acre parcel will be prescribed burned, then planted with 160,000 longleaf pine seedlings to restore the natural longleaf/wiregrass habitat.
Ocklawaha Prairies Conservation Area (near Ocala) This project, in the St. John's River Water Management District, will plant 157,000 longleaf pine seedlings on 314 acres to restore a rare sandhill A sandhill is an ecological community type found in many parts of the world. Sandhills in the coastal plain of North America
This xeric fire-maintained ecosystem features very short fire return intervals, one to five years. ecosystem and attract associated wildlife species. AMERICAN FORESTS' Chornobyl Memorial Forest (see page 44) will be located here.
Audrey Carroll Audubon Sanctuary (Mt. Airy) A total of 1,200 seedlings will be planted on eight acres of a wildlife sanctuary owned by the Audubon Society of Central Maryland. Planting will provide forest cover for songbirds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians and a link with adjacent corridors for wildlife movement.
Betsie River Riparian Corridor (Grand Traverse, Benzie, and Manistee counties) Project will improve water quality and the river's aesthetic and recreational qualities. The trees also will provide shade to cool water temperatures and improve conditions for fish. A total of 108,900 seedlings will be planted on 150 acres (see related story on page 16).
St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge National Wildlife Refuge (lower Mississippi ecosystem near Natchez) The bald eagle, Louisiana black bear, and peregrine falcon - all threatened or endangered - will benefit from this project to plant 120,000 mixed hardwoods on 300 acres of bottomland forest. Wintering and breeding waterfowl waterfowl, common term for members of the order Anseriformes, wild, aquatic, typically freshwater birds including ducks, geese, and screamers. In Great Britain the term is also used to designate species kept for ornamental purposes on private lakes or ponds, while in will also benefit, as will migrating neotropical songbirds.
Great Plains Riparian Restoration and Enhancement (Roger Mills and Beckham counties, southwest Oklahoma) Long-term benefits include improved wildlife habitat, a reduction in erosion, increased water quality, and improved public recreational facilities. Elk City Lake The Elk City Reservoir is a manmade lake located 7 miles east of Elk City, Kansas, the dam that forms the lake was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It has approximately 4,500 acres (18 km²) of water, and 12,000 acres (49 km²) of wildlife, and a total of over 50 will get 2,500 trees for its riparian and eroded shoreline areas; another 7,500 will be planted along various riparian areas.
Nooksack Salmon Enhancement (streams in lowland Whatcom County, north of Seattle) Outdoor outfitter Eddie Bauer is sponsoring this project to improve stream habitat and increase salmon populations in lowland streams. Over three years, 13,700 native trees and shrubs will be planted on 20 acres of degraded riparian corridors within several watersheds. Note: To contribute to this project, visit your local Eddie Bauer store.
Karl Blankenship is editor of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay's Bay Journal.