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Feature Spotlight: AEC Buffer Planting Helps Pennsylvania Partners on the Road to Ten Million Trees

Posted: May 4, 2018

Learn more about the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership - an initiative of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Trees planted along Dellinger Run.

Trees planted along Dellinger Run.

On the Rodney Garber farm in Lancaster County, tubes shelter acres of recently planted trees along the Little Chiques Creek. On Tuesday April 24, federal, state, regional and local partners gathered against this backdrop to announce an ambitious goal: plant 10 million trees in Pennsylvania by the end of 2025.

The Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership is an initiative of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and many supporting partners—state and federal agencies, local governments and regional entities, conservation groups and conservancies, watershed groups, businesses and individuals. During its launch this spring, CBF and its partners will be planting more than 31,000 trees at over 50 locations throughout the Commonwealth.

Three days after the announcement at the Garber Farm and just five miles down the road, the AEC and its partners began work toward the goal by planting several hundred trees along Dellinger Run. The trees are part of an enhanced and expanded forest riparian buffer restoration project at Penn State’s Southeast Agricultural Research and Extension Center (SEAREC).

The AEC was one of over forty inaugural partners collaborating with CBF to plant trees this spring. Helping AEC and SEAREC staff in the Dellinger Run planting were CBF staff, Lancaster County Academy students, the AEC’s Greening the Lower Susquehanna volunteers, and new Lancaster Clean Water Partners Coordinator Allyson Gibson and her children.

“We are excited to be part of this partnership,” said Matt Royer, AEC Director. “It’s big, it’s ambitious. It’s a collaborative approach that will only grow. It is the kind of bold and innovative initiative we need to meet lofty clean water goals.”  

Riparian buffers are among the most effective conservation practices for improving water quality and increasing ecosystem health.

The buffer at SEAREC, which hosts dozens of research and extension events annually, will provide an excellent demonstration site to complement on farm research in field and forage crops, horticulture, vegetable production, floriculture, and more. It will show that ecological riparian restoration is compatible with agricultural production.

The research farm is in the heart Lancaster County, Pennsylvania’s hot spot for nutrient and sediment loads. It is situated in the middle of the Chiques Creek watershed, where AEC has been active over the last several years. Funding from a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant is supporting a collaborative partnership in this priority watershed to ramp up restoration efforts.

The AEC and its Chiques partners are currently offering NFWF funding for landowners interested in implementing riparian buffers and other conservation practices. Funding is helping install additional riparian buffers, stream restoration, and agricultural and stormwater best management practices across the watershed.

To learn how to take advantage of funding now available in the Chiques watershed, contact Sarah Xenophon, AEC Watershed Technician, at . Every tree planted is one step closer to Keystone 10 Million!