The following article was submitted by Joe Coleman, President of Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy
For over a year now, Loudoun County has been working on an ordinance to protect our streams by preserving vegetated streamside buffers. Vegetated streamside buffers, or riparian buffers as they are also known, are strips of grass, shrubs, and ideally trees and shrubs along the banks of rivers and streams. They serve as a buffer between our uses of the land and the water itself, and are the last line of defense for water quality. To understand how a buffer works imagine drinking a cup of coffee made without a filter or Continue reading
Blue stone sacrifice area with green pasture and stream in distance
While Loudoun County is deciding whether riparian buffers make sense for our citizens, others in the Commonwealth have been able to put into practice what is being preached by ordinances designed to utilize Mother Nature to filter runoff before it enters our streams.
One such example can be found in Prince William County. The Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District together with Oakwood Farm have developed a cooperative model “Chesapeake Bay-Friendly Horse Farm”. Continue reading
The Benefits of Streamside Vegetation
1. Woody vegetation and tall grasses along streambanks shade the water, helping to maintain cooler water temperatures many aquatic organisms require to survive.
2. Native plants provide food and cover for wildlife. Nesting, breeding, and roosting sites are common in riparian areas.
3. The roots of trees and shrubs not only stabilize stream banks, thus preventing erosion and stream bank failure; they also take up excess nutrients entering the stream from the surrounding lands. This root material also slows the velocity of a flooding stream thereby decreasing damage and allowing greater groundwater infiltration.
4. Fallen leaves and other plant debris provide food and shelter for many organisms.
Taken from The Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s Restoration Program,September 2003.
To whom it may concern,
Catoctin Creek Waterford Near Phillips Farm, courtesy of James Hanna
My name is Drew Moore and I write to you on behalf of Loudoun’s Clean Streams Coalition. We’re an association of Loudoun citizens and citizen groups who are committed to saving and preserving Loudoun’s streams. We feel that the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (CBPA) – now under consideration in Loudoun – is a pragmatic legal safeguard against stream degradation, as it requires a 100′ riparian buffer surrounding all perennial streams in the county. As you may know, riparian buffers have been shown time and time again to be a simple, effective means by which to protect waterways: the buffer acts as a sponge for silt, animal waste, and nutrients (principally nitrogen) and slows the flow of water from land to stream, helping to prevent water contamination, sedimentation, and bank erosion.
I am writing to ask if you would like to help our coalition of like-minded people as we educate Loudoun about the CBPA and encourage the Board to implement it. In particular, we would like to 1) provide accurate, well-cited information concerning the CBPA and its potential effects in Loudoun, and 2) demonstrate county-wide support for the CBPA at the Sept. 20 public information session before the Loudoun Board of Supervisors.
Let’s work together to ensure safe, clean water in Loudoun – today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.