Roots For Rivers

Reforesting Yards Creek with Roots for Rivers

Staff and volunteers for The Land Conservancy of New Jersey recently planted 575 native trees at Yards Creek Preserve in Blairstown, thanks to a grant from the Roots for Rivers program.

The weather was sunny and cool, but the work was hard as the workers dug holes in rocky soil for four days of planting over the first week of October, putting in hundreds of saplings and plastic tubes to protect tender trunks from deer and mice. Land Conservancy staff members were joined by a whopping 59 volunteers, who came from all over north Jersey to plant native species of oak and black tupelo trees over four workdays.

Once the mature forest is established, it will reduce erosion and rehabilitate wetlands on the Paulins Kill River, which feeds the Delaware. The trees will also provide shade to cool the water, discourage invasive species from growing, provide a root system to stabilize stream banks, filter out pollutants, and store flood waters. The restored floodplains will also supply food and habitat for a diversity of wildlife.

This work was made possible by a Roots for Rivers grant, funded and organized by the Watershed Institute, The Nature Conservancy, and Sustainable Jersey. Roots for Rivers is a floodplain reforestation incentive program operating throughout New Jersey’s watersheds. The grant paid for 400 of the trees, while TLCNJ footed the bill for the rest.

Sandy Urgo, TLCNJ’s Vice President of Land Preservation, is pleased with the results. “We endeavor to be excellent stewards of land after we acquire and preserve it. Years from now, this will be a forest filled with mighty oaks, which is an amazing legacy for The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, the Roots for Rivers program, and every volunteer who gave so generously of their time and energy. Thanks to the grant and our friends who were willing to come out and work hard on our behalf, it was a success!”