As a homeowner, there are many things you can do to practice conservation in your own backyard. When we all get involved and do our part, no matter how big or small, we do make a difference.
If you own property that borders a stream and have concerns with the banks eroding and/or water quality, there are some relatively simple measures that you can take to alleviate the problems. Sometimes the erosion is too severe, and steps are needed to provide armoring or protection, but if the erosion is not too bad, a “stream buffer” may be the answer to your worries. Property owners that mow or weed right to the stream are setting themselves up for bank erosion problems. Turf grass has very shallow roots which do a poor job of holding soil in place. As a result, stream banks tend to erode quickly. When natural vegetation is allowed to grow along a stream’s banks, creating a stream buffer, the benefits are amazing. The vegetation in a buffer allows for better and deeper root penetration and therefore does a better job of holding soil in place.
Buffers also provide many other benefits. They shade and cool to the stream, which helps promote a healthy and diverse fish community. Buffers are very effective at filtering pollutants such as lawn fertilizers, animal waste, and pesticides. They also provide wildlife corridors and habitat.
Ideally, stream buffers should be as wide as possible. However, any buffer width is better than none at all. The greater the width, the more positive impacts there will be for the stream. If you have any questions or would like any guidance in establishing your own stream buffer, contact the Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District at (513) 732-7075