Success of riparian restoration projects in the mountains, piedmont, and coastal plain of VirginiaThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Forested riparian buffers are a Best Management Practice (BMP) for protection of water quality and for habitat. Since the 1990s, conservation agencies in Virginia have been involved in establishment of riparian buffers under the auspices of programs such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Although CREP was established for protection of water quality, little monitoring has evaluated the success of establishment efforts. In summer 2006, we evaluated 63 CREP sites located in the Coastal Plain, Piedmont, and Ridge and Valley regions. Overall, riparian forests in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont were well stocked due to a combination of planted and natural regeneration. In general, the Ridge and Valley sites were not well stocked and sites had problems with invasive, exotic species. Our findings indicate that additional efforts should be made to ensure fencing is maintained, species selections are based on site conditions, and invasive species are controlled.