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Value Of Stream Buffers To Protecting Water Quality Heard By House Committee

The House Democratic Policy Committee this week held a hearing on the value of forested stream buffers in protecting and improving water quality and reducing water treatment costs.

           Dr. Bernard Sweeney, Director of the Stroud Water Research Center, provided an overview of the research his Center has done on the multiple benefits of forested stream buffers, including habitat improvement, reducing sediment, stabilizing stream banks, reduce stream temperatures and more.
            He said existing science says riparian stream buffers should be at least 100 feet on either side of the stream.
            Marel Raub, PA Director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, outlined the commitments Pennsylvania has to meet Chesapeake Bay cleanup milestones and said stream buffers are an important part of that effort.
            David Wise, PA Watershed Restoration Manager for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation outlined how the federal Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) can pay for 100 percent of the cost of installing a forested stream buffer plus an annual rental payment for the land.
            Since 2000, the CREP program has been responsible for creating 24,000 acres of forested stream buffers.  To help meet the Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals, Pennsylvania has committed to develop 19,000 more acres of forested buffers between now and the end of 2011, something that will require new resources and changes in policy to increase landowner sign-ups, Wise said.
            Grant Gulibon and Robert FisherPA Builders Association, said more flexibility is needed to help developers meet stormwater reduction requirements to meet Bay cleanup goals and suggested a stormwater best management practice offset program might be one way to achieve these environmental goals at least cost to the public and builders.
            Rep. Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster), a member of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, serves as Chair of the Committee.
            NewsClip:  Forested Buffers Get A Hearing In The House

Video Blog: CREP Program Promotes Forested Buffers, More Landowner Sign-Ups Needed


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