Cooperatove Conservation Project
COOPERATIVE CONSERVATION CASE STUDY

Buffalo Creek Riparian Buffer Restoration

Keeping Cows Out of the Water

Location: Northeastern/Mid-Atlantic Region: Pennsylvania West Virginia

Project Summary: Agencies, universities, non-profits, and foundations offered cost share and technical assistance for riparian and instream habitat restoration.
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Cooperators on the Buffalo Creek project appreciate all the wildlife that has returned to the restored wetlands
Resource Challenge
Buffalo Creek Watershed, which arises in western Pennsylvania and  empties into the Monongahela River in West Virginia, covers about  107,000 acres across the two states. About 50 percent forested and  50 percent agricultural, the creek has long suffered from non-point  source pollution, especially from cattle wandering along riverbanks,  degrading the riparian zone and damaging water quality.
 
The USDI Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Partners for Fish and  Wildlife Program is encouraging farmers to fence stream banks to  keep cattle out of streams, allowing trees and brush to regenerate and  keeping excess sediment, nutrients, and bacteria out of the water.  New vegetation shades the stream, making it more hospitable for  fi sh, plants, and animals.
Examples of Key Partners
California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U), FWS Partners for Fish  and Wildlife Program, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service  (NRCS), Washington County Conservation District, Pennsylvania  Game Commission, Pheasants Forever, National Fish and Wildlife  Foundation, the R.K. Mellon Foundation, Pennsylvania Department  of Environmental Protection, J.K. Heinz Foundation, Pennsylvania  Fish and Boat Commission, Ducks Unlimited, and Buffalo Creek  Watershed landowners.
Results and Accomplishments
 Washington County is doing more streamside fencing than any other eastern county: more than 60 miles of riparian fencing has  been installed. Instream restoration, cattle crossings, plantings, and alternate watering sources round out restoration activities. Farmers are planting native grasses on less productive areas, expanding forage for cows, and providing better wildlife habitat.
 
Crews from Cal U are acting as landowner agents, constructing  projects using 75 percent USDA cost share funds, and 25 percent in-kind contributions from partners and foundation funds. Projects are being used as training for biology students from the University. The restoration effort, in turn, benefi ts by having a University  Wildlife Conservation Specialist involved in project planning and design. Projects combine the latest habitat restoration techniques including in-stream restoration, an element often missing from  agricultural restoration projects.
 
A number of partners, including the NRCS, the FWS, Ducks Unlimited, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, provide valuable technical assistance in the planning and design of projects. The Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pheasants Forever, and Ducks Unlimited provide in-kind assistance. The Washington County Conservation District helps secure funding.
 
About 50 landowners are participating in the program, producing measurable improvements in water quality. Researchers from Cal U are monitoring water quality over the long term.
Innovation/Highlight

Multiple agencies are helping farmers erect fences to keep livestock away from the water.

Project Contact
Jose Taracido
Wildlife Conservation Specialist
California University of Pennsylvania


724-938-5799
Taracido@cup.edu






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