Stream & Shoreline Restoration

Volunteers planting stream buffers. Photo by CBF StaffBy planting forested buffers (above) and living shorelines, CBF is creating natural pollution filters throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Photo by CBF Staff

The Importance of Rivers and Streams

Five major rivers—the Susquehanna, Potomac, Rappahannock, York, and James—provide nearly 90 percent of the fresh water to the Chesapeake Bay. These and the hundreds of thousands of creeks and streams that feed them, provide vital habitat for many aquatic species, including anadromous fish species like shad and sturgeon,turtles and amphibians, and important plants and grasses.

The Problem

Stormwater runoff from farmland and urban and suburban areas wash nutrients—often excessive amounts of them—into our streams and rivers eventually leading to the Bay. Too much of these nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus in particular) do great harm to our waters' critters, plants, and underwater life.

What We're Doing About It

By building and restoring forested buffers (multiple rows of native trees, shrubs, and grasses) along streams and rivers, we are able to capture and filter out the pollution from runoff through these buffers. They also provide important habitat for wildlife and aquatic species, stabilize stream banks against erosion, and help keep rivers cool in summer.

In addition CBF creates living shorelines along river and Bay waterfront with native wetland plants and grasses. These areas help restore habitat, prevent erosion, capture sediment, and filter pollution.

Volunteers of all ages plant native grasses along Annapolis' Parkwood neighborhood shoreline. Photo by Tom Zolper/CBF Staff

CBF Creates First Urban Living Shoreline in Annapolis

In June 2012, CBF staff and volunteers created a living shoreline in the Parkwood neighborhood in Annapolis, one of the few such natural shorelines built in an urban neighborhood in the state.

Planting a living shoreline is a creative and proven approach to protect tidal shorelines from erosion. It substitutes for a conventional bulkhead, using native wetland plants and grasses, shrubs, and trees to prevent waterfront erosion, and also to filter polluted runoff from the land.

This winter, contractors built several stone sills that act as breakwaters just offshore of the community’s waterfront. Then in June volunteers planted over 7,000 native grasses in the tidal area along the 640-foot waterfront.

Check our calendar for an event near you.

Programs & Initiatives

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
CBF is a partner in this program, which provides funding for Pennsylvania landowners to make their streamside property or farmland more conservation-friendly. Learn More

Buffer Bonus Program
This CBF incentive program enables CREP participants to implement other water-quality enhancing changes on their farms. Learn More

In the News

05.19.15 - Audio available Opening the Gate: Farmers on Fencing

03.14.15 - Stream Conservation Working in Berks County

01.28.15 - Virginia General Assembly tackles issues affecting the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed

01.24.15 - A new watering hole

01.21.15 - Chesapeake Bay projects to get $19 million federal funding boost

01.13.15 - Chesapeake Bay Foundation to focus on importance of grasses

12.10.14 - NRCS Helps Protect Stretch of Antietam Creek

10.28.14 - CBF Press Release CBF Issues Statement Following Gov. Corbett's Signing of the Buffer Bill

10.26.14 - Governor signs bill ending buffer requirement for PA’s cleanest streams

10.22.14 - Money available for planting trees along E. Antietam

10.19.14 - Hundreds donate time to lift the community

10.16.14 - CBF Press Release CBF Calls on Governor Corbett to Veto HB1565 - Bill that Will Pollute Pennsylvania's Waterways

10.16.14 - Conservation groups losing battle against Clean Streams Act

10.16.14 - Pa. legislature passes bill changing buffers for cleanest streams

10.14.14 - Ellicott City students join Gov. O'Malley on stream restoration project

10.14.14 - Video $1.7M Little Patuxent River Restoration to Help Trap Pollutants

10.13.14 - With Pennsylvania's legislative session entering its last week, here's 5 fights you may want to know more about

10.13.14 - Legislature shouldn't gut the state's streamside protections

10.07.14 - Stream buffer bill clears Senate hurdle

10.06.14 - Pennsylvania lawmakers may weaken protection for high quality streams

09.15.14 - Students enhance habitat for wildlife near restored creek

09.13.14 - House panel faces vote on stream buffer bill

08.24.14 - McAuliffe to visit area to tout conservation program

06.14.14 - Report Shows Pa. Regressing in Bay Cleanup Practices

06.05.14 - Central Pennsylvania streams to gain buffers through upcoming plantings

03.30.14 - Volunteers plant native shrubs for water quality boost

10.04.12 - Fewer incentives, boost in commodity prices mean decline in on-farm forest buffer restoration

You may also be interested in
  • Maryland Oyster Gardening Help restore oysters in Maryland. Start your own oyster garden.
  • Pleasure House Point Leading the effort to conserve Pleasure House Point, one of the last remaining natural waterfront areas of Virginia Beach.
  • A New Day for Oysters Maryland's Harris Creek is host to one of the largest oyster restoration projects ever undertaken in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Oyster Gardening in the Inner Harbor CBF and the Waterfront Partnership have created The Great Baltimore Oyster Partnership as art of the Healthy Harbor Initiative to make Baltimore's Inner Harbor swimmable and fishable.
  • Lafayette River Restoration There's an active movement underway to restore this wonderful resource.
  • Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Landowners in Pennsylvania can protect water quality in the rivers and streams that flow into the Chesapeake Bay by making their streamside property or farmland more conservation-friendly with help from this program.
  • Spat Catcher Program Each spring, volunteers from the Lafayette River area hope to attract swimming oyster larvae to special cages suspended from piers and docks.

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