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GSI on campus: Bucknell & Susquehanna planted forest buffers

GSI on campus: Bucknell & Susquehanna planted forest buffers

Campus waterways flow into the Chespeake Bay; show green stormwater benefits for other campuses

Green stormwater infrastructure is becoming more main-stream, and two Pennsylvania college campuses are showcasing it.

Bucknell University and Susquehanna University planted forest buffers along streams to slow rainwater runoff. Forest buffers trap sentiments and nutrients before they flow into waterways, improving quality for both water and wildlife.

On Bucknell’s campus, volunteers planted 100 trees along Smoketown Road. On Susquehanna’s campus, hundreds of trees were planted along three acres. Combined, the buffers cover over four acres across both campuses. Chesapeake Conservancy, a nonprofit based in Annapolis, Maryland, with staff based in Pennsylvania, assisted in both efforts.

Although riparian forest buffers are often designed primarily for water quality benefits, these practices can also include woody species that provide products such as nuts, fruit, and decorative woody florals. (USDA National Agroforestry Center illustration)

“Streamside tree plantings, often referred to as forest buffers, are rows of trees, shrubs, and grasses planted along waterways. These plantings help to slow rainwater runoff as it approaches the streams, stabilize streambanks, and provide food for in-stream insects,” said Chesapeake Conservancy Senior Project Manager Adrienne Gemberling. 

In addition to helping to address climate change, trees are among the most cost-effective tools for cleaning and protecting waterways by filtering and absorbing polluted runoff, stabilizing streambanks, improving soil quality and sequestering carbon.

Photos: Dr. Dan Ressler, department head of Earth and Environmental Sciences of Susquehanna University.

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher
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