Location: Nelson County, VA
Partners Involved: James River Association & Conservation Services, Inc.
Type of Buffer: Rural Residential
Submitted by: Anne Marie Roberts
Collaborating partners the James River Association, the Virginia Department of Forestry and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation are working across the Upper and Middle James Watershed, through the James River Buffer program. The goal of the program is to restore stream side forests for clean water. If you are interested in protecting water quality, creating native wildlife habitat as a secondary co-benefit, willing to restore your hardwood forest buffer at a width of 35 feet or greater along your waterways, plus preserve that area in forest for a minimum of 15 years then you are most likely eligible!
Since 2019, the start of the James River Buffer, JRA has installed over 50 buffer projects within the Middle James Watershed. The program is designed to incorporate a diverse array of landowners and land uses with riparian corridors. JRA has installed buffer projects on: cattle farms (who have installed live-stock exclusion fencing through local Soil & Water Conservation Districts), hay and crop farms, horse and ruminant farms, pollinator and wildlife preserves, nature centers, community farms plus small backyard and rural residential properties.
We would like to highlight one of our rural residential landowner projects. Nestled in the foothills of the blue ridge mountain in Nelson County JRA and Conservation Services Inc. installed a buffer project over 4 acres along a tributary of the Tye River in the fall of 2020. The landowner was interested in planting a diverse pallet of species native to Nelson County that would benefit wildlife, provide future harvestable fruits, nut and berries, and decrease stream bank erosion on her property. Over 30 species were planted to meet her objectives including: flowering dogwood, willow oak, yellow poplar, red mulberry, elderberry, paw paw, persimmon and redbud, to name a few.
“ I enjoy checking in with with our landowners to see how their mini forests are doing and gauge project progress on the ground and love their hearing their feedback”! -Anne Marie Roberts, Middle James Restoration Manager, James River Association. “First bud rising. A perfect heart. That’s a good start” -Landowner, Rose Csorba, reflecting after seeing her redbud leaves popping up out of the tree shelters. Her geese enjoy grazing in the buffer zones, too.
It’s important that landowners recognize that they can be part of the patchwork quilt of riparian buffers and that no project is too small. Are you interested in starting your own stream side mini-forest!? Start with an interest application
All photos were taken by the landowner
This post Is part of the first annual CCLC Riparian Buffer Month.
For more information check out our page
If you would like to support professional training of landscape professionals in the design, instillation, and maintenance of riparian buffers, please donate today to the CBLP-Buffers scholarship fund. We believe that landscape professionals have a unique ability to directly affect the health of our landscapes- and your donation will directly assist a professional in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to pursue training.