Streamside forests are crucial to the protection and enhancement of the water resources of the Eastern
United States. They are extremely complex ecosystems that help provide optimum food and habitat for
stream communities as well as being useful in mitigating or controlling nonpoint source pollution (NPS).
The streamside forest transforms nitrate to nitrogen gas
The streamside forest can also function as a transformer
when toxic chemicals such as pesticides are converted to non-toxic forms. Because of continued
improvements in the formulation and management of pesticides, only very small amounts manage to leave
the area of application. These residues, borne by runoff, are converted to non-toxic compounds by
microbial decomposition, oxidation, reduction, hydrolysis, solar radiation and other biodegrading forces at
work in the soil and litter of the streamside forest.
While scientists have long understood the biological processes at work in the streamside forest, additional
data are necessary to fully quantify their importance with respect to pesticide degradation.
Control of point source pollutants was a start; control of nonpoint pollutants and repair of the aquatic
ecosystem through reestablishment of the streamside forest is a logical next step in improving the quality
of our water resources.
Specifications for such a statewide forest should consider the following:
For additional information on specifications/Riparian Forest Buffers please contact the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service.
580 Taylor Ave, Annapolis MD 21401