Alyssa Johnson is an AmeriCorps VISTA member with SALT who has recently taken on the role of the Schoharie Area Wild Initiative Coordinator. She will be working on various projects, including the Trail Feasibility Study over the next 8 months of her service.
Last month, with the help of our visiting AmeriCorps NCCC team, SALT facilitated a native tree and shrub planting event at a local landowner’s property in the Town of Schoharie. The Hudson Estuary Trees for Tribs Initiative (tribs as in tributaries) is a free program administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) out of the New Paltz, NY office. This initiative provides landowners with free native trees and shrubs for qualifying riparian buffer restoration projects. Trees for Tribs staff may also be able to assist with plant selection, designing a planting plan, and other technical support to improve the odds of success for projects.
Erosion is a natural process that can happen anywhere water is present. After the flood events that occurred during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, the Schoharie Creek and other local tributaries experienced minor and major erosion along the banks. The site that was chosen for this planting event stretches for several hundred feet along the Schoharie Creek. After Irene, the landowner lost hundreds, if not thousands of cubic feet of property downstream, which included large, mature trees and shrubs. The loss of the root system of these plants encourages erosion during future flood events, minor or major. Reestablishing a strong root system of native, riparian zone plants is excellent mitigation against future erosion of the creek bank.
This Trees for Tribs planting was the last project for our visiting AmeriCorps NCCC team, Raven 2. It was a great day for all involved!
On behalf of the landowner, SALT applied for a “Trees for Tribs” grant earlier this spring, which is a simple application found here: Trees for Tribs Application. There are two deadlines for plantings at different times of the year: March 1 for spring, and August 1 for fall. Reserving plants early is advisable (applications are accepted after deadlines, but are at a disadvantage). The site was chosen in collaboration with Peter Nichols, Stream Program Manager with Schoharie County Soil and Water District (SWCD), and SALT staff. Plant types and species were chosen by the NYSDEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program’s Riparian Buffer Coordinator, Beth Roessler.
Pictured are Beth Roessler (NYSDEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program’s Riparian Buffer Coordinator) and Pete Nichols (Stream Program Manager with the Schoharie County Soil and Water Conservation District) who were both instrumental in making this project a success!
SALT also recruited and coordinated the team of volunteers who planted that day, including 7 AmeriCorps NCCC members, SALT’s Schoharie Area Wild AmeriCorps VISTA Coordinator Alyssa Johnson, Beth Roessler and NYSDEC intern James Reed, and Pete Nichols and Rob Guenther, an intern from SWCD. Well over 100 trees and shrubs were planted along the stream bank and above the bank in the landowner’s lawn. As these plants grow, and their roots spread, the land will stabilize and hopefully the process of erosion will slow.
To learn more about the Trees for Tribs program, click here. If you are interested in applying and need assistance in planting, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for possible volunteer coordination.