A new program called the Backyard Buffers Program is starting this spring in Harford County. The program, administered through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources – Forest Service, started in Western Maryland several years ago and has been successful in helping to establish forested riparian buffers on properties of less than 5 acres that are located along a stream.
A streamside buffer can create habitat for wildlife, reduce peak water temperatures, and reduce the amount of sediment, fertilizer, and toxic materials that enter our waterways. Deep-rooted trees and shrubs can also stabilize stream banks, protecting them from erosion.
The Backyard Buffers program provides a free “buffer in a bag” to help get homeowners started in buffering their streamside. The bag includes twenty-five native tree and shrub bare-root seedlings, 1 to 2 feet in height, of various species that are well suited to streamside conditions.
Also included are fact sheets on tree planting techniques, typical planting arrangement, proper tree maintenance, native plant species suitable for streamside plantings, and additional information for those who wish to learn more.
If you are a homeowner and have a stream or other waterway on or adjacent to your property, and are interested in creating streamside buffer, complete the attached application form, detach it from the brochure, and return it to the address on the back with a letter stamp. The bags will be available for pickup at a designated local site in time for the spring planting season. If you need assistance with planting due to a disability, contact the Maryland DNR Forest Service office at the number on this brochure.
The application deadline for trees through the Harford County Backyard Buffers Program is April 8, 2011 (the application is part of the brochure) or people may call Frank Lopez at 410-836-4564 by April 8th to register. The trees will be available for pick-up within a week or two after that. Applicants will be notified of the pick-up date and location.