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Remember: 2009: Riparian Buffers

Monday, December 14, 2009

2009: Riparian Buffers

(Over the next few weeks I will be doing a 2009 retrospective of my many journeys in the parks of Allentown and points beyond)

It was an interesting year for Riparian Buffers in Allentown. Buffers began a long overdue expansion over this past summer and it was not without controversy. A major buffer installation project was included in the Cedar Beach renovation plan and arguments went on (and are still going on now and again) across the pages of local newspapers and the blogosphere.

I made post after post supporting Riparian Buffer development and I spent many afternoons journeying deep into the buffers that are established in our parks.

Time after time I was treated to beautiful wildlife and natural experiences that are unparalleled anywhere else in any city park in the Valley.

Truthfully, I was surprised to see such negative comments on my posts after feeling and experiencing the wonderful things I had in my travels.

In October, I was proud to be able to help plant hundreds of native plants that will create the growing foundation for a new, expansive, and desperately needed Riparian Buffer in Cedar Beach Parkway. (You can read about it here: Riparian Buffer Planting at Cedar Beach Parkway)

It looks as if 2010 is going to be a great and exciting year for Riparian Buffers in Allentown's city parks. The no-mow zones look to be expanded:

Nature is poised to make her return and it is a return long overdue. Last Friday, the Morning Call ran a story about the reemergence of Bald Eagles in our parks, and the public response was overtly positive. The Buffers that will be growing in a few short months will ensure the continued appearance of majestic wildlife and expand the already wondrous experience had in our parks.

I am looking forward to devoting a significant amount of time covering the growth of the newly established and already flourishing Buffers in our parks next spring and summer and I will be focusing directly on specific plants and animals that I find inside them, like this guy:

A non venomous northern water snake; I tried repeatedly over the summer to find another one and I never was lucky enough to see one. I hope to get another chance in a few months.

So, 2009 in Riparian Buffers? As you can see from the pictures in this post, it was certainly a beautiful year. A year, that exposed the problems needing fixing concerning these creations. A year that showed that much more information is needed to be shown to people who aren't entirely sure what these buffers even are.

The voice of nature, of the wild, grows louder in these park places and that voice is too often muted for the sake of recreation or an outdated unscientific aesthetic principle. 2009 showed that the city of Allentown and the Parks Department also need to employ better management techniques where buffers are concerned. Invasives need to be removed but whole Riparian areas need not be sacrificed for their removal and please, try not to mow the fledgling plants that will begin growing at Cedar Beach this spring. I am confident no more of it will be paved over, although that still bums me out.

Next summer, I invite any of my readers to join me and take a walk on the wilder side of our parks, inside our Riparian Buffers. Trust me, there is nothing else like it.

2009 Riparian Buffer Posts:
Riparian Buffers 1: Cedar Beach Parkway
Riparian Buffers 2: Lehigh Parkway
Riparian Buffers 3: Trexler Park
Wildands Presentation to City Council
Interview with Dr. Abigal Pattishall
Top Five Reasons for Riparian Buffers
Adventures in the Buffer and the Destruction of It
Planting the Riparian Buffer at Cedar Beach



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