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Riparian Buffers 

Rainwater can pick up animal wastes, fertilizers, and pesticides, and carry them from farms to streams. One simple solution is to create a buffer of warm season grasses, shrubs, and trees along the edge of the stream to stop storm-water's flow.  Even a small farm buffer can have the following advantages: 

  • Keep the nutrients at home for use by crops, not by water weeds. Buffer strips can sponge 50-80% of nutrients/pesticides and 60% or more of pathogens from surface runoff and shallow groundwater passing through the root zone.

  • Keep soil on site. Buffers can trap 75-90% of sediment before it leaves the farm. When you see runoff moving through the permanent cover and coming clear, you know it’s catching most of what was headed for the stream. Because phosphorus tends to cling to sediment, buffers can trap that, too.

  •  Take unprofitable land out of production and possibly get paid for it.

  • Reduce labor, fertilizer, and seed costs in buffer once established. Native buffer vegetation needs little attention, compared to annual crops.

  • Help minimize erosion and avoid costs of bank stabilization and loss of land.

  • Reduce crop losses from flooding, which can erode valuable cropland and deposit debris in fields.

  • Improve integrated pest management success by providing cover for predatory insects and insect-eating birds.

  • Qualify for incentive payments.

  • Boost the bottom line with cash crops from the buffer itself (lumber, hay, nuts, fruits & berries, fiber, horticultural, pharmaceuticals).


Stream Crossing

As part of a farm operation, cattle and horses must frequently cross streams.  This can present certain problems for both the farmer and water quality.  The crossing can quickly become eroded and muddy increasing the likelihood of sick animals and stuck equipment.  One solution is a stream crossing.  

  • Provide livestock access to all your pastures

  • Crop and graze fields that are difficult to get to

  •  Improve cattle health by keeping them out of the mud

  • Keep your farm water cleaner by keeping cattle out of the stream

  • You decide where the cattle cross the stream



North Jersey RC&D has financial and technical resources available to farmers who are interested in implementing some form of on-farm stream protection.  Contact us for more information. 

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