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Riparian Buffer Program

Urban Riparian Buffer Program LogoA Grant Program to Fund the Planting of Trees on Priority Waterways of Davidson County

Healthy creeks, streams and rivers are dependent on healthy forested stream banks, often referred to as riparian buffers. These forested riparian buffers offer many benefits not only to the landowner, but also to the watershed and everyone living downstream. They can help stabilize eroding stream banks, filter out sediments and chemicals before they reach the waterway, help recharge groundwater, preserve or improve wildlife and aquatic habitat, and add scenic and economic value to your land. Buffers also help to reduce flooding and erosion by stabilizing shorelines and absorbing high velocity flows.

In 2011 the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry (TDF) received a grant from the USDA Forest Service to help fund the planting of trees to restore riparian buffers along streams and waterways in 8 priority watersheds located in Davidson, Rutherford and Williamson Counties (Upper and Lower Mill Creek, Richland Creek, Browns Creek, Hurricane Creek, Stone's River Middle, Stone's River Upper and Whites Creek). These watersheds were identified in the TDF's 2010 Forest Action Plan as being Urban Forestry Priority Areas and/or not having adequate riparian forest cover.

What the Program Provides to the Landowner

The Clean Water from Urban Forests Riparian Buffer Program provides native trees to public and private landowners, at no cost to the landowner, to be planted along streams and waterways in 8 priority watersheds (see map). The Program's Riparian Buffer Coordinator can assist with plant selection, designing a planting plan, and other technical information. In many cases, volunteer assistance may be available to assist the landowner with the planting of the trees. The Riparian Buffer Program Coordinator may also be on-site during the planting process.Davidson County Priority Watershed Map

All that is asked of the landowner is that the trees be taken care of to ensure that they can grow to maturity. There are no easements or other property right restrictions placed on the landowner's property. Annual visits by TDF personnel, with the landowner's permission, may be provided to assess the trees condition and to provide the landowner with technical assistance on maintaining the trees and the associated riparian buffer.

Everyone Benefits

While forested riparian buffers add beauty and value to your property, their benefits extend far beyond a single landowner's property by contributing directly to the quality of water and of life downstream. The more forested riparian buffers there are in a watershed, the greater the overall health of the watershed and of the quality of its waters.

Edmondson Pike Library Planting Site
Before After
beforePlanting-aerial afterPlanting-aerial
Planting Site Before Planting Site After

What You Can Do

You can join in the effort to help improve the quality of these watersheds. If you live on a waterway, creek, stream or river, you can help by simply maintaining existing riparian buffers on your land. However, if riparian buffers on your land are in need of restoration, then you can seek assistance through this program, and others, to help you restore them.

For More information

If you are interested in participating in this free Riparian Buffer Program, would like to volunteer to help plant trees, or would like more information, please contact:

Reggie Reeves
Program Coordinator
Clean Water from Urban Forest Riparian Buffer Program
Tennessee Department of Agriculture
Division of Forestry
P. O. Box 40627, Melrose Station
Nashville, TN 37204

Accomplishments to Date

Total Individual Projects 110
Total Planting Sites 42
Total Trees Planted 20,526
Total Feet of Buffer Planted 26,249
Total Acres Planted 19
Total Seedlings Potted 4,082
Total Volunteers 1,818
Total Volunteer Hours 5,424

updated July 22, 2014