Data Summary

Riparian Buffers for Southeast Pennsylvania

2000 - Heritage Conservancy

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During 2000 - 2004, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP), as part of the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program and Pennsylvania Stream ReLeaf, funded Heritage Conservancy to develop a rapid assessment method to identify and map sections of stream lacking riparian forest buffers. The conservancy then assessed various watersheds in southeastern Pennsylvania and mapped waterways lacking riparian forest buffers. The assessment included the main stem, tributaries and small headwater streams. Interpretation of 1" = 400' black-and-white high altitude aerial photographs, Orthophotos, and videotape from helicopter over flights were used to determine the presence or absence of a forested buffer for 1,200 miles of stream. The forest buffer conditions were classified and digitized into a Geographic Information System (GIS). A series of large-scale (1" = 400') maps were produced showing sections of stream bank lacking forest buffers. Local conservation groups were given the maps to assist them in targeting areas for riparian buffer plantings to improve water quality.