In 2019 the WRP worked with 10 landowners and 700 students and community volunteers to plant 3,600 native trees and shrubs along the White River and its tributaries in Barnard, Bethel, Braintree, Hancock, Randolph, and Rochester. THANK YOU to everyone who helped plan, fund, and implement these projects!
In 2000 the WRP partnered with the US Fish & Wildlife Service to launch a Trees for Streams Program. Through this Program the WRP restores streamside vegetation throughout the watershed by working with local landowners to plant native trees and shrubs along their river banks – at no cost to them. To date the WRP has partnered with more than 170 landowners throughout the watershed to plant over 60,000 trees along the White River and its tributaries!
Although 84% of the White River watershed is forested today, much of the land adjacent to streams and rivers has been deforested over the past 200 years to accommodate the development of roads and railways, housing, and farms. The loss of streamside trees and shrubs has a negative impact on the health of the White River. Restoring a 35-foot-wide strip of native trees and shrubs along the river – also called a “buffer” – is essential for clean water and healthy aquatic habitat.
Native buffers filter pollutants from run-off, reduce erosion, provide shade to keep water temperatures cool for fish, ward off non-native invasive plant species, and create corridors for wildlife. Buffers also serve as the first line of defense against flood events and can safeguard property from erosion. The re-establishment of buffers through planting trees is one of the most effective and efficient ways to improve water quality, reduce erosion and flood damage, and maintain healthy fisheries in our watershed.
For more information about riparian buffers, check out these fact sheets for landowners and decision makers.
If you own streamside property in the White River watershed that lacks adequate vegetation, please contact us. We would be happy to visit your property, assess your buffer needs, and share more information about our Trees for Streams Program.
For more information about incorporating riparian buffers into classroom curricula, visit our Resources for Teachers page for related links.