Tue 27 May 2008
“Trees for Tribs” Program – replanting Waccabuc Creek
A team made up of members of the Three Lakes Council, NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, The Nature Conservancy, the John Jay High School AP Environmental Science classes, and the Town of Lewisboro combined on May 20th and 21st on a significant project in our watershed.
The Waccabuc Creek is a small tributary that flows under East Ridge Road, through the Waccabuc Country Club, beside the Waccabuc Post Office, and eventually across The Nature Conservancy’s Long Pond Preserve and into Lake Waccabuc. The stream is extremely flashy, so rain events produce large, sediment rich stormwater flows, which erode the stream banks, and carry pollution downstream. The baseflow is also quite low in the summer. All these made the spot an ideal candidate for planting a riparian buffer.
Riparian (streamside) buffers are a major component to maintaining healthy streams and water. These buffers, composed of trees, shrubs, and grasses, help to reduce the amount of pollution entering waterways by slowing down and filtering runoff. By extending retention time, buffers also help to reduce flooding and erosion. They also stabilize shorelines and absorb high velocity flows. Buffer plants can also shade and cool the stream waters. In addition, riparian buffers serve an important role for wildlife as a shoreline transition zone, and increase the overall biodiversity. The improvement in stream ecology also promotes more biodiversity in the stream as well.
The Hudson River Estuary Program’s “Trees for Tribs” Initiative, in partnership with the New York Water Resources Institute at Cornell University, offers free native trees and shrubs for qualifying projects in the Hudson River Estuary watershed within the State of New York from the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to the Troy Dam. The initiative’s goal is to replant 750 miles along tributaries by 2015.
John Jay High School’s AP Environmental Science Classes have been sampling this stream as part of the Westchester County’s Citizen’s Monitoring Program during spring and fall for the past several years. On May 20th, they joined the combined groups to help plant about 700 feet of the Waccabuc Creek streamside, to help improve the stream conditions. A significant amount of barberry was also removed by volunteers from Three Lakes Council and a steward from The Nature Conservancy. The Town of Lewisboro waived the fee for a wetlands permit.
The DEC provided a mix of 200 native trees and shrubs, as well as, tree tubes and weed mats for this project. The shrubs, which are about 60% of the plants, are typically 12” to 30”+ tall, bareroot seedlings. Trees are typically a combination of 4’-6’+ tall, 2-4’ tall, and 15-30” tall containerized saplings. The planting occurred on May 21st. From Mead Street, you can see about 80 yellow tree shelters; the new shrubs are less visible right now. Thanks to everyone involved in this important project intended to improve the water quality in Waccabuc Creek and Lake Waccabuc.