Streamside Plantings Taking Root Throughout the Region!

PPL Electric employees shared their time to plant 75 trees and shrubs in Emmaus.

Riparian buffers – what exactly are they and why does Wildlands talk about them so much? Good question!

Simply put, riparian buffers are streamside strips of native trees and plants that hugely benefit the health of our waterways, and in turn, our whole Lehigh River watershed! Riparian buffers are a cost effective way to filter polluted runoff before it hits our streams, and they also importantly support fish and wildlife habitat. You can learn more about riparian buffers and their role in stream restoration here.

Wildlands is presently leading a large-scale effort across more than 15 project sites to establish beneficial riparian buffers. This often involves engaging community and corporate volunteers, plus making important connections with a host of project partners – like the strategies being advanced in partnership with the Lehigh County Conservation District and the Emmaus Borough. Working together at this level is helping the Borough forward a no-mow approach to keep critical buffers intact, while also deepening community relationships through volunteer plantings.

Director of ecological restoration, Kristie Fach, explains, “This project is exciting because it’s the first time that so many partnerships are coming together in force and collectively forwarding such a large-scale riparian buffer project. The restoration and awareness we’re creating will have a long-term impact on our community.”

Fall of 2017 brought together individual community members, students and areas businesses to plant hundreds of native trees, shrubs and grasses at 10 of these project sites throughout the Lehigh Valley.

Project Partners

City of Bethlehem

Emmaus Borough

Fry’s Run Watershed Association

Lehigh County Conservation District

Lehigh County, Pa Game Commission

Little Lehigh Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Lower Macungie Township

Martins-Jacoby Watershed Association

Monocacy Chapter of Trout Unlimited

Monocacy Creek Watershed Association

Natural Resources Conservation Service

Northampton County

Northampton County Conservation District

Penn State Extension

Penn State Master Watershed Stewards

Saucon Creek Watershed Association

Seven Generations Charter School

South Whitehall Township

Watershed Coalition of the Lehigh Valley

Interested in learning more about this project? Contact Kate Ebel at