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Residents Spring in to Action: Spring Stream ReLeaf

What an excit­ing sea­son it was for Stream ReLeaf!

This sea­son saw a jump in demand for the ReLeaf pro­gram — with three dozen res­i­dents plant­ing over 1,300 trees and shrubs. With each of those 1,300 plants that were installed, the envi­ron­ment ben­e­fits. How? In immea­sur­able ways, but let’s start off with some of the biggies:

*Stream buffers help pre­vent stream­bank erosion.

*The veg­e­ta­tion traps much of the sed­i­ment, nutri­ents, and other pol­lu­tants, pre­vent­ing them from enter­ing our waterways.

*In addi­tion to sta­bi­liz­ing the soil, the plants uti­lize most of the trapped nutri­ents. (Note: An effec­tive buffer will use of to 80% of the phos­pho­rous and nearly 90% of the nitro­gen, two of the biggest pol­lu­tants of the Chesa­peake Bay.)

These envi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits are com­ple­mented by count­less other ones, such as pro­vid­ing habi­tat and sup­ply­ing food for wildlife, and car­bon sequestration.

The instal­la­tion of these plants can also be looked at from an eco­nomic point of view. At a time when many stormwa­ter man­age­ment facil­i­ties are in need of main­te­nance or repair, the addi­tional plants can help reduce the veloc­ity of the stormwa­ter, thereby allow­ing more of the water to be absorbed in to the earth. Any reduc­tion in the vol­ume of water that these facil­i­ties need to han­dle helps from a man­age­ment and upkeep per­spec­tive. And there are other eco­nom­i­cal ben­e­fits, too; for exam­ple, a reduc­tion in stream­bank ero­sion can help main­tain the value of a property.

Laura Miller
June 2011

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