Volunteers to Plant 1,500 Trees in the Sourlands

The Sourland Conservancy has been awarded a 2019 Roots for Rivers Grant in the amount of $17,544.80 from The Nature Conservancy and the Watershed Institute, and will partner with Mercer County, the Mercer County Park Commission (MCPC) and the Americorps NJ Watershed Program to plant 1,500 native trees and shrubs in the Moore’s Creek floodplain near Pleasant Valley Road at the foot of Baldpate Mountain.

The Sourland Conservancy (SC) staff, partnering agencies, and volunteers will plant native trees and shrubs in the six-acre fallow field: river birch, red maple, pawpaw, dogwood, bayberry, spicebush, winterberry holly, blueberry, witch hazel, and more. MCPC Senior Land Steward, Jillian Stark, and AmeriCorps NJ Watershed Ambassador, Fairfax Hutter, developed the plant list for the project and will participate in the planting and in project oversight.

Caroline Katmann, SC Executive Director said, “This is important work. This restoration project will provide critical stream buffers to help protect water quality of Sourland streams, prevent flooding and provide quality habitat for insects, fish, birds and other native animals.”

Throughout much of the state, floodplains have been deforested and left without trees. Native tree and shrubs planted along previously deforested stream banks and adjacent land (riparian area) help to protect and enhance water resources from land-use impacts in the watershed. Forested riparian buffers provide canopy cover to cool the water and regulate in-stream temperatures for aquatic macroinvertebrate and fish species, provide a root system to stabilize stream banks and filter out excess nutrients and pollutants from stormwater runoff, provide extra storage for flood waters, and supply food and habitat for a variety of in-stream and riparian wildlife.

The Sourland Conservancy’s Stewardship Committee Chairman, Chris Berry, said, “Our team is thrilled to have the opportunity to restore this critical area.  Our volunteers have done great work on planting projects in the past. This will be our biggest one yet. We’re looking forward to meeting a lot of people and planting a lot of trees and shrubs!”

Several planting dates are planned to accommodate volunteers’ availability: April 24, 25, 26 and 27. Morning and afternoon shifts will be offered. If you, your family, friends or coworkers would like to participate, please register at www.tiny.cc/RootsForRivers. To learn more about the project, visit www.sourland.org/roots-for-river-reforestation

The Roots for Rivers Reforestation Grant and Technical Assistance Program is funded by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the Watershed Institute and Sustainable Jersey. This program is part of The Nature Conservancy’s ongoing efforts to plant 100,000 trees in New Jersey by 2020.

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