Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Penn State Extension Beings 5-Part Backyard Stream Repair Webinar Series March 15

By Alexandra McLaughlin, Extension News

Landowners with a stream on their property, or anyone interested in streambank repair, can benefit from a live, five-part webinar series offered by Penn State Extension in March.

The "Backyard Stream Repair Series" will run from 2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. on March 15, 17, 24, 29, and 31.

While many programs and resources exist for large-scale property owners with streams, fewer resources are available for owners of smaller properties — for example, someone who owns an acre of land with a stream running along the edge, explained Jennifer Fetter, water resources extension educator based in Dauphin County.

"A lot of these backyard stream owners are on their own," Fetter said. "We're trying to help them as much as we can."

According to Fetter, landowners face a range of challenges with streams. Streambank erosion may cause land to sink into a stream. Widening and deepening streams could threaten infrastructure such as a bridge, picnic area, or house foundation. 

Landowners may wish to create a beautiful garden or habitats for birdwatching, fishing, or hunting and are unsure where to start.

The webinar series will present a step-by-step process for backyard stream repair. 

Organizers note that the techniques are meant to be simple and affordable, with no permit required. Participants will have a chance to interact with experts and ask questions.

"We have a full team available during the webinars," Fetter said. "While one person is presenting, there are four or five other people at the ready answering questions that come up as they go. We set aside time at the end to discuss some of the most popular questions. No one leaves without a question answered."

Along with helping participants achieve personal goals for their property, the series focuses on the environmental benefits of stream repair, Fetter explained. 

Riparian buffers, or streamside forests, are one of the most sustainable and cost-effective ways to protect and improve local streams. Planting trees and other plants along a stream helps absorb runoff water and prevents fertilizer and animal waste from polluting the stream.

In addition to filtering pollutants, riparian buffers prevent stream bank erosion, reduce flooding, provide habitat for wildlife, and create recreational opportunities such as birdwatching and fishing.

Past participants have embraced riparian buffers, according to Brenna Butler, evaluation specialist for Penn State Extension. 

In a follow-up survey six months after the spring 2021 webinars, Butler found that participants had worked on 32 stream repair projects since viewing the series. 

Participants reported planting more than a thousand trees or shrubs, adding riparian buffers to a total of 7,325 feet of stream.

Past participants praised the full-color manual, Simple Solutions for Your Eroding Backyard Stream, as a useful companion to the webinars. Participants will receive a complimentary copy of the manual by mail upon registration.

In addition, registration will secure participants an invitation to future hands-on field workshops, open only to webinar registrants, which will be offered across Pennsylvania as in-person events and sites permit.

"We bring the resources and materials and let people try some of the techniques hands-on while we supervise and coach," Fetter said.

Participants attending live presentations can receive continuing education units. These include credits for Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professionals, members of the International Society of Arboriculture, Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association certified horticulturists and certified sustainable landscapers, and landscape architects. 

Engineers will have the opportunity to fulfill professional development hours.

Participants can register for the series through March 11. Registration, which includes a $30 fee, is required to receive the link to access the webinars. Registrants also will receive access to the webinar recordings.

Reflecting on the spring 2021 cohort, Butler said that many participants were motivated to "share the love" of stream repair because of the series.

"A lot of participants mentioned that this information could allow them to educate or assist others on their stream repair projects, whether that be family, friends, neighbors or even clients," Butler said.

Click Here to register or to find out more about the Backyard Stream Repair Series.

(Reprinted from Penn State Extension Watershed Winds newsletterClick Here to sign up for your own copy.)

Related Articles This Week:

-- Award-Winning Master Watershed Steward Projects From 2021

-- Spotlight On A Busy Master Watershed Steward - Tom Price, Bucks County

-- Penn State Extension Drinking Water Team To Offer Water Testing In 18 PA Counties

Related Articles - Penn State Extension:

-- Penn State Extension 9-Part Webinar Series - Woods In Your Backyard [Now Going On]

-- Registration Now Open! Virtual 2022 Watershed Forestry Summit March 2-3

-- Penn State Extension 5-Part Webinar Series On Woodland Stewardship Starting March 2

-- Penn State/DCNR Forest Health, Insect And Disease Virtual Update March 17

-- Penn State Extension: Teach For Forests: Forest Education For Teachers, Youth Leaders

[Posted: February 22, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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