Buffer Restoration Resources
The Maidford River Buffer Restoration Resources
This guide is intended to assist property owners who are interested in restoring and improving riparian buffers along the Maidford River. While this guide is not an exhaustive resource, it is intended to give buffer property owners enough information and resources to design and implement their own restoration project. Property owners who need or want more assistance with designing and implementing a buffer restoration plan for their property may contact the project partners listed at the end of this guide.
The health of any river or stream depends upon the upland area that drains into it. A riparian buffer is the land next to a river or stream that is usually vegetated with trees, shrubs, ferns and other perennials, with a natural layer of previous year’s growth. This vegetation protects the river system by slowing runoff from upland areas and filtering contaminants. The environmental and economic benefits of riparian buffers are well documented, and include:
~Reducing flooding by slowing stormwater runoff that travels over the land into the river and providing room for flood waters during large rain storms
~Improving water quality by trapping pollutants, sediment and debris that would otherwise end up in the river
~Reducing streambank erosion and increasing streambank stability
~Providing wildlife habitat
~Improving aesthetics for human residents
Property owners with land adjacent to the Maidford River can help protect the island’s drinking water source by taking steps to re- establish natural buffers or improve existing buffers. The Southeast New England Network is working with the Aquidneck Land Trust and the Town of Middletown to restore the Maidford River to reduce flooding and protect water quality. If your property includes a buffer area, we can help you restore or improve it.
Each property is unique and options for riparian buffer restoration will vary for each. Generally speaking, the wider the riparian buffer, the greater the benefits. Buffers of 35’ to 100’ width are
considered a minimum to protect water quality, and the State of Rhode Island uses a standard of 200’ riparian buffer as protective for drinking water supply tributaries, as well as water quality and some habitat functions. Where lot size prevents buffers of these widths, restoring the area immediately next to the river to stabilize the streambank can reduce bank erosion and provide some water quality benefits.
A buffer with diverse plant species is better than one with fewer species, and native species are preferable. Specific buffer restoration options (described in more detail below) could include:
~Creating a “no mow” buffer. Moving the mowed area away from the riverbank is one of the simplest steps a property owner could take.
~Seeding an area with a conservation seed mix, tailored to the soil conditions on your property. Over time, and without mowing, new plants grow in the buffer. This is an easy and cost-effective way to get a lot of diverse plants, but it takes time.
~Planting a combination of native trees, shrubs and perennial plants is a great way to build a more established riparian buffer without waiting for seeds to mature.
For More Information
To schedule a free on-site assessment of your property and discuss specific restoration options, contact
Save The Bay at 401-272-3540.
The Maidford River Restoration Project is a pilot project of the Southeast New England Network, funded by a US EPA grant. The Network was formed to assist Southeast New England communities to advance stormwater management and ecological restoration, and develop sustainable revenue streams to support these efforts into the future. The Maidford River Restoration Project is a partnership that includes the Town of Middletown, Aquidneck Land Trust and Save The Bay with assistance from local consultants and technical experts, and funding support from the Eastern RI Conservation District.