Riparian Buffers Resource Library
NATIONAL FISH AND WILDLIFE FOUNDATION
Cumberland Plateau Stewardship Fund
The Cumberland Plateau Stewardship Fund is dedicated to restoring native forests to conditions that will improve associated wildlife species and the health of freshwater systems, while advancing strategies to support working forests.
NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE
Emergency Watershed Protection Program
The Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) was established to respond to emergencies created by natural disasters. EWP helps protect lives and property by providing cost share and technical assistance. The program provides funding (up to 75%) to project sponsors for such work as clearing debris from clogged waterways, restoring vegetation, and stabilizing river banks. Each EWP project, excluding flood plain easements, requires a sponsor who applies for the assistance. A sponsor can be any legal subdivision of State or local government. The sponsors determine priorities for emergency assistance while coordinating work with other Federal and local agencies. Application must be received 60 days after event.
The purpose of this Kentucky initiative is to help participants develop fish and wildlife habitat on private agricultural land, nonindustrial private forest land and Indian land. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to landowners and others to develop or enhance upland, wetland, riparian, and aquatic habitat areas on their property.
U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS
Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration
Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration found under Continuing Authorities Program Section 206 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996, as amended, authorizes the Corps of Engineers to participate in the planning, engineering, and construction of projects to restore degraded aquatic ecosystem structure, function, and dynamic processes to a less degraded, more natural condition.
Continuing Authorities Program
Congress has given the Corps of Engineers authority to plan, design, and construct small projects for flood risk management, emergency streambank and shoreline protection, ecosystem restoration, and navigation improvements without specific Congressional authorization.
Before the Federal Government can participate in implementing a project, the Nashville District must conduct a two phase study. The first phase is reconnaissance. This phase is used to make a preliminary determination whether there is federal interest in further studying the problem. The reconnaissance phase is completed upon the signing of a Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement by the Nashville District and the cost-share sponsor. By signing the agreement, the second phase can be initiated, called a feasibility study. This study evaluates a wide range of alternatives and recommends the best solution from economic and environmental perspectives.
Cumberland River and Browns, Richland, Whites Creeks Feasibility Study
As a result of record flooding in May 2010, a reconnaissance report was completed to evaluate water resources issues including flood damage reduction, ecosystem restoration, navigation, water supply, and hydropower within the Cumberland River Basin. A flood risk management feasibility study for Nashville and Davidson County is being conducted.
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program to restore historic habitat types, which benefit native fishes and wildlife. Interested landowners in Tennessee andKentucky can receive technical advice and funding to do livestock exclusion fencing/alternate water supply construction, streambank stabilization; restoration of native Vegetation; wetland restoration/enhancement; riparian reforestation; and restoration of in-stream Aquatic Habitats. Projects must benefit Federal Trust Resources (threatened or endangered species, wetlands, migratory birds). Click the appropriate link for TN or KY above for program details for each state.
U.S. FOREST SERVICE
National Riparian Vegetation Monitoring Technical Guide
The Forest Service's national riparian vegetation monitoring core protocol. Published in 2014.
National Stream and Aquatic Ecology Center
The focus of the National Stream and Aquatic Ecology Center is on developing tools and science applications for the more effective management and conservation of watersheds, streams, riparian ecosystems, fisheries and aquatic ecosystems on National Forests and Grasslands. The Center's focus is on environmental flows and water resource management, watershed, stream, riparian, and aquatic habitat restoration, condition, trend, and effectiveness monitoring of watershed, channel, aquatic habitat, and riparian vegetation, technology development, transfer and application, and technical Support and Training.
Portable Electronic Presentations
A wealth of electronic interactive presentations on key scientific talks covering subjects such as fish passage culvert replacement, aquatic organism passage, watershed management, hydrology and geomorphology, riparian management, and more.
StreamNotes is an aquatic and riparian systems publication that has the objective of facilitating knowledge transfer from research and development to on-the-ground application, through technical articles, case studies, and news items. Stream related topics include hydrology, fluvial geomorphology, aquatic biology, riparian plant ecology, and climate change.
U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Floods and Flood Plains
This easy-to-understand fact sheet describes why floods occur and discusses the basics about flood-plain designation.
U.S. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
Cumberland Plateau River Prairies
This webpage provides information about a unique riparian vegetation type endemic to the Cumberland Plateau known as a river scour prairie.
STATE RESOURCES - KENTUCKY
KY DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE RESOURCES
The "Habitat How-To" documents below cover some of the more common habitat management practices when developing an overall farm plan. How-To's include guides for shallow water wetlands, streamside management, wildlife water holes, planting trees and shrubs and more.
Stream Team Program
The Stream Team offer landowners free repairs to eroding and unstable streams and wetlands. The team consists of a group of stream restoration specialists in the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Their job is to identify and undertake stream restoration projects statewide. The Stream Team works with private landowners and others to identify stream restoration projects. Projects are funded from the Kentucky Wetland and Stream Mitigation Fund held in trust solely for repairing streams and wetlands. No state tax general funds or hunting/fishing license dollars are used. In addition to basic and technical information about this program as well as the states stream mitigation program, this webpage has information for helping landowners see if they may qualify for the program.
KY DIVISION OF CONSERVATION
State Cost Share Program
The Kentucky Soil Erosion and Water Quality Cost Share Program and the Kentucky Soil Stewardship Program are financial and technical assistance programs created to help agricultural operations protect the soil and water resources of Kentucky and to implement their agriculture water quality plans. Water related practices eligible for cost share are agriculture and animal waste control facilities; streambank stabilization; animal waste utilization; vegetative filter strips; integrated crop management; pesticide containment; sinkhole protection; pasture and hay land forage quality; heavy use area protection; rotational grazing system establishment; water well protection; forest land and cropland erosion control systems; closure of agriculture waste impoundment; on-farm fallen animal composting; soil health management; precision nutrient management; strip intercropping system; livestock stream crossing and riparian area protection.
KY DIVISION OF FORESTRY
Forest Stewardship Program and Landowner Services
The Kentucky Forest Stewardship Program is a free program available to all private forestland owners who own forestland. The Division of Forestry can arrange for a forester, wildlife biologist, other natural resources professional or all of the above to meet with you to help prepare a customized forest stewardship plan based on your goals and objectives for your property. On the forest stewardship program application, you are asked to choose a first and a second priority of management. Choices include both fish and wildlife habitat and forest watershed improvement. If you choose these options resource professionals will meet with you to help you plan for improving the habitat or watershed value of your forest.
State Resources - TENNESSEE
TN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program
TAEP is a cost share program for Tennessee's Agricultural community. Participation allows producers to maximize farm profits, adapt to changing market situations, improve operation safety, increase farm efficiency and make a positive economic impact in their communities. Grant funds from the program are also available for community tree planting and are designed to assist cities and towns in maintaining and increasing their tree resource. This includes funding for riparian tree planting on public or private land, as of 2016.
TN DIVISION OF FORESTRY
Urban Riparian Buffer Program
To help raise public the awareness of the importance of riparian buffers and to help restore degraded buffers in a target area, the Division of Forestry initiated a pilot program through a grant from the USDA Forest Service to help restore riparian buffers along streams and waterways in 8 priority watersheds located in Davidson, Rutherford and Williamson Counties in middle Tennessee.
TN STORMWATER ASSOCIATION
TN Urban Riparian Buffer Handbook
This handbook is intended to help those who want to protect our waterways by establishing buffers across our state’s rapidly changing landscape including: Local governments (public works, parks, or stormwater departments); Non-governmental organizations (watershed groups); Community groups (civic groups); and Water-side property owners (homeowners, HOAs).
TN WILDLIFE RESOURCES AGENCY
Funds and Projects
Information about current TWRA funds and projects including the Tennessee Aquatic Stream Clean Up and Riparian Tree Grant.
Improving Stream Channels, Ditches and Lakeshores With Live Staking
A how-to guide for using cuttings from dormant woody vegetation to revegetate bare stream banks.
Smart Yards Program
Tennessee Smart Yards is a University of Tennessee-led program that guides and assists Tennessee residents and neighborhood associations on practices they can apply in their yards and common spaces to create healthier living spaces and communities. Courses aim to help homeowners achieve a landscape that reflects their values, desires and needs, while ensuring the protection of our state's waterways. Water related principles of a smart yard include using water efficiently, using fertilizers appropriately, reducing storm water runoff and its pollutants, and potecting water's edge, amongst others. Check out the Smart Yards yardstick for a check list of mitigation activities associate with smart yard principles.
UT Tree Improvement Program
The Program’s research is directed toward improving the production and quality in various forest tree species planted by Tennessee landowners, while protecting the genetic resources of tree species at risk from exotic pests.
UT WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH CENTER
Tennessee Yardstick Workbook
The 2009 Tennessee Yardstick Workbook shows you how to create attractive and healthy yards by working with Tennessee's environment rather than against it. Topics covered include 'using water efficiently,' 'reducing stormwater runoff and its pollutants,' and 'protecting waters edge.'
Stormwater Management Manual
The 2016 Stormwater Management Manual has been compiled by the City of Franklin to assist planners, developers, contractors and various businesses and industries and the City of Franklin in stormwater pollution prevention and water quality protection. Specific sections of the manual include: 1) Policies & Procedures; 2) Construction Management Practices; 3) Temporary Construction Site Runoff Management Practices; 4) Permanent Erosion Prevention & Sediment Controls; 5) Permanent Stormwater Treatment Controls; 6) Industrial & Commercial Runoff Management Practices; and 7) Other Source Controls. In addition to the manual itself, this page includes an interactive map of active construction sites, a land-use based water quality calculation tool for developers, the state's urban riparian buffer handbook, information about post construction & maintenance measures, and more.
This handout has a variety of flood related information for Nashvillians. It includes information about flood warnings, flood insurance, safety, property protection, floodplains, and more.
Water Quality Buffers
New development and significant redevelopment sites are required to preserve water quality buffers along Metro’s community waters, which include streams, rivers, springs, lakes, ponds, and wetlands. Additional information about buffers and buffer requirements is available on this webpage.
Flood Buyout Maps
Maps showing properties that were purchased and removed through the Hopkinsville Surface and Storm Water South Fork Little River Acquisition Home Buyout Program.
National Flood Insurance Program
Information about the National Flood Insurance Program and it's implications for homeowners in the City of Hopkinsville.
Best Management Practices for Homeowners
Resources for helping homeowners manage stormwater pollution. Resources include: the Homeowners Guide to Cleaner Water; how toCreate a Streamside Buffer; 25 Ways to Prevent Water Waste; How to Make a Rain Garden; How to Make a Rain Barrel; How to Recycle Used Oil; Oil Recycling Locations; Summertime Tips for Water Quality; a Storm Drain Labeling Fact Sheet and Storm Drain Labeling Request Form; and Grass Clipping Disposal and Fertilizer Usage Information.
Creating a Stream Buffer
A how-to guide for creating a stream buffer, provided by the City of Murfreesboro, including basic information about why buffers are important, recommended buffer plant species, and more.
Stream Quality Improvement Projects
A list of activities and projects funded through Murfreesboro's Stormwater Fee Program.
In 2007, Murfreesboro established a Water Quality Protection Area (WQPA) policy and ordinance. This policy requires that any new land development alongside a stream should establish a 35 or 50 foot buffer, depending on the size of the stream. Residences built in or after 2007 and are located next to a stream, the yard is most likely platted with a WQPA. This is a protected area, a no-touch zone with few exceptions. Residents are not allowed to remove vegetation, do earth work or construction, or apply herbicides. More information about buffer regulations are provide on this site. The page also notes that 60' wide buffer instead of a 50' wide buffers are required on stream segments where the watershed area is 640 acres or more. This map depicts the 640-acre drainage points.
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION RESOURCES
Dam and Obstruction Related Pages and Resources
A variety of dam and dam removal related resources. Titles of related pages include How Dams Damage Rivers, How Dams are Removed, Maps of Dams Removed in the US, Benefits of Restoring Floodplains, and New dams Won't Solve Water Supply Needs.
River Restoration Resource Center
American Rivers has created a series of resources designed to empower federal and state agency staff, engineering design firms and other consultants, and nonprofit organizations (collectively, river restoration practitioners) with the tools, skills, and understanding necessary to restore damaged rivers. Explore our series of videos, fact sheets, and reports to learn more about removing dams, replacing culverts, and restoring floodplains.
CUMBERLAND RIVER COMPACT
Proactive actions provide good risk management, avoid costs, and help ensure that during our region’s rapid we maintain the natural components of resiliency- tree canopy, headwater streams with natural floodplains and buffer zones, local food production, and open space for public health, safety, recreation, and quality of life. The Compact is moving the basin toward resilience in collaboration with Climate Solutions University, The Nashville Area MPO, and others using climate resilience education, planning, policies and practices.
Riparian Buffer Plantings
A riparian buffer is a vegetated area (a “buffer strip”) near a stream, which helps shade and partially protect a stream from the impact of adjacent land uses. It plays a key role in increasing water quality in associated streams, rivers, and lakes.
HARPETH RIVER WATERSHED ASSOCIATION
Agricultural Best Management Practices
A list of 10 recommended best management practices for agricultural producers. Included are riparian buffers, no till, rotational grazing, cover crops, keeping cattle away from stream banks, getting soil and manure tests to determine proper application levels, ensure pesticide applicators are properly calibrated, and more.
This webpage provides an overview of HWRA efforts to restore the headwaters of the Harpeth using 319 grant funding. Efforts have focused on reducing nonpoint source stormwater pollution with exclusion fences, stabilizing feeding areas, and stabilizing streambanks.
River Restoration and Wildlife Protection Program
The River Restoration & Wildlife Protection program coordinates and implements projects that restore streams, address stream bank erosion, and reduce pollution from runoff in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Example restoration projects are provided on this page including riparian zone restoration, tree planting, bank stabilization, rain gardens, and stream clean-ups. Links on this page provide information on cedar revetments for repairing stream banks, a rain garden and rain barrel page, recent projects and more.
KENTUCKY WATERWAYS ALLIANCE
Kentucky Aquatic Resource Fund (KARF)
KARF provides a way for multiple agencies and partners to contribute funding and other resources to conserve Kentucky’s best places. KWA’s role in the partnership is to act as the financial steward of the fund. The fund exists to ensure that all ill-effects to aquatic species are adequately addressed, and that real conservation and recovery benefits are provided. KARF supports voluntary land preservation agreements and has funds designated to match other grants or programs that support or match our goals. The fund will support much needed research, surveys, and monitoring of waterways and water quality along with stream and stream/riverbank area management. The funds will also support threatened species propagation and introductions throughout the state and promote habitat restoration and enhancement through the Best Management Practices installation.
MILL CREEK WATERSHED ASSOCIATION
Since 2013, the Mill Creek Watershed Association has planted 1,007 trees along the stream banks, engaging 164 volunteers and completing 359 volunteer hours. More information about this effort is available on this page.
THE NATURE CONSERVANCY OF TENNESSEE
Habitat Conservation Plan - Natural Resources
An overview of the natural resources of the planning area. These pages contain information about: 1)Relevant best management practices and conservation solutions such as riparian buffers, low impact development, and conservation; 2) Relevant area recreational resources; 3) Area forests, streams and rivers, and caves and karst; 4) Areabiology 5) Covered species in the HCP; 6) Species stressors.
RICHLAND CREEK WATERSHED ALLIANCE
A list of achievements by the Richland Creek Watershed Alliance.
This webpage covers water quality issues Richland Creek is facing. Topics covered include the importance of riparian buffers, flood plains and floodplain development, development generally, nutrients, dams, and the current health status of Richland Creek waterways.
An executive summary of Richland Creek's 2013 strategic plan, which outlines the organizations goals to renew riparian corridors, connect fish passage and freshwater channels, and protect ecosystems.
STONES RIVER WATERSHED ASSOCIATION
Know Your Watershed
This document contains information about the Stones River Watershed. It includes a map, as well as information about water quality and the importance of native vegetation.
TENNESSEE ENVIRONMENTAL COUNCIL
Citizen Action Guide to Watershed Assessment and Restoration (2015)
This 2015 guide provides citizens with steps for putting sound science to work in their watershed. Interested person or organizations can contact TEC at email@example.com if they would like to schedule a training workshop that covers these materials. Contents include the action guide for watershed assessment and restoration itself as well as the following appendices: Appendix 1 – Watershed Science and Mapping; Appendix 2 – Stream Assessment Final; Appendix 3 – Guide to Restoration Activities Final; Appendix 3.1 Tennessee Cedar Revetments; Appendix 3.2 – Guidance for Riparian Buffer plantings TDOF 2014; Appendix 3.3 Combined Rain Garden Workshop Guide; Appendix 4 – Guidance for Educators; Appendix 5 – Permits and Reporting Environmental Violations (TDEC); Appendix 6 – Watershed Restoration Plan Guidance; Appendix 7 CWA overview; Appendix 8 – Glossary Final.
Watershed Support Center
The Council’s Watershed Support Center takes challenges and turns them into opportunities for Tennessee rivers and streams and waterways and the wildlife and people who enjoy them. Work includes: Planting trees to reforest the stream banks and planting live stakes to stabilize the soil and help improve water quality; installing rain gardens, rain gardens add beauty to the landscape and reduce flooding by allowing storm water to be absorbed by the plants and infiltrated into the ground; installing revetments (cedar timbers wrapped in coir mat) on to the eroded bank to prevent further deterioration of the stream bank; fish habitat restoration initiatives in the streams.
TN SCENIC RIVERS ASSOCIATION
River adopters are involved in simple observation of watershed activities, monitoring of invertebrates (instream sentinels of possible pollution), trash cleanups, and streambank stabilization projects. Adopters enjoy their streams when they're clean, and they work with various entities such as TDEC's Division of Water Pollution Control to improve them when needs arise. This page includes more information, as well as Adopt-a-River Q&A and a link for adopting a river near you.