SLE organizes and leads tree plantings with local community members, organizations and businesses. With the help of volunteers, we plant native trees and shrubs within the area known as the riparian zone, the land that extends from the banks of a stream. A healthy riparian zone benefits a stream in many ways, including the following:
- Placing a riparian zone between a pollution source and a stream can greatly improve the quality of the water in the stream. Acting as a filter, the trees remove the sediment and pollutants that flow from surface and subsurface runoff.
- Dense vegetation of native plants along the side of a stream supplies shade, which helps maintain a healthy stream temperature.
- A healthy riparian zone will slow the flow of water entering a stream. Water has a better chance to soak into the soil, recharging the groundwater as it travels through the layers of sticks and leaves of a forest.
- Trees stabilize the soil and prevent erosion, which can cause an excess of sediment entering a stream. Sediment can choke a stream bottom and make it difficult for aquatic organisms to survive. With a healthy riparian zone, aquatic organisms are provided food and habitat.
Beside the ecological value of tree plantings, a reforested area can increase property value and provide an aesthetically pleasing landscape. At SLE, we recognize the importance of integrating education into our conservation projects. Volunteers will walk away from a planting not only feeling good about their contribution, but also understanding the importance of their effort. Read more, and volunteer.