Howard County WSA Stewards, Susan Tucker, Ana Maria Layton, Kate Reilly, Mandy Elder, and Zsuzsanna Cooke worked this past year to improve the health and vitality of the riparian buffer along a portion of an eroded stream in Columbia. The project aims to slow storm water erosion, increase water absorption and filtration, and enhance pollinator and wildlife value. Work focuses on stream bank stabilization, tree canopy expansion, and riparian buffer enhancement. The targeted stream runs through both Columbia Association open space and private properties, requiring support from CA and individual homeowners.
During the first phase of the project, the team cleared the area of trash, invasive vines and shrubs to make room for a large native planting. They planted the donations that they received of 100 bare root saplings and hundreds of native floodplain perennials. The team also applied for the Howard County Plastics Reduction and Environmental Protection Grant, awarded to them this summer and enabling the team to continue to a second phase of the project.
This fall and spring, they will install an additional 40 larger trees, 110 shrubs and perennials, and 500 live stakes. The team is conducting homeowner outreach and education via face-to-face conversations, emails, and virtual meetings regarding the importance of the riparian buffer and the ecological services it provides, and is connecting homeowners to additional local resources.