We all know the value of maintaining appropriate riparian buffers, especially as they affect the quality of our coldwater streams. As currently proposed, HB1565 would substantially alter the existing protection afforded by riparian buffers by allowing their elimination on those streams designated as special protection waters.
HB1565 proposes a “trade off” in the form of an option allowing the elimination of riparian buffers in one portion of a stream as long as an equivalent section is provided for in another section of that same watershed. What this means is that development along headwaters sections of our coldwater streams could eliminate riparian buffers on those waters which are so critical to sustaining a wild trout population.
PA House passes HB1565 by a 119 – 79 vote – Now it is up to the Senate to Protect Pennsylvania’s Water Resources
On 9/22/14, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed House Bill 1565, rolling back regulations that require riparian buffers to be maintained or created and instead making buffers an optional best management practice. Now, the bill is the Senate for consideration. With a handful of days left in the legislative session, anything is possible. Please make your voice heard and contact your state Senator.
Tell your Senator to Protect Pennsylvania’s Water Resources and to Vote NO on House Bill 1565
Here is a link to the Pa. Senate site, which can help you find your senator:
We need you take action TODAY to protect Pennsylvania’s trout streams.
Here is why HB1565 doesn’t make sense:
- Riparian buffer zones of native vegetation are the most effective tool-in terms of management and cost-to prevent accelerated erosion and sedimentation, protect water quality through filtering pollution, reduce the severity of flooding, and provide important habitat for wildlife.
- Weakening the existing regulatory requirements would have a negative impact on water quality, communities who rely on buffers to slow flood waters, and fish and wildlife habitat.
- As amended, HB1565 would allow a project to destroy riparian buffers in one part of the watershed, and build new buffers elsewhere in the watershed. Unfortunately, this amendment doesn’t factor into account the site-specific benefits that buffers provide-leaving the stream where the buffer was removed without the pollution filtering, shade and flood control capabilities.
- Sedimentation continues to be one of the greatest sources of pollution to Pennsylvania’s streams. Riparian buffers are critical for intercepting precipitation, and slowing the flow of runoff into stream channels-ultimately reducing the erosive forces acting on the stream bed and banks. And the root systems of native plants help to stabilize stream banks, thereby reducing bank erosion. Less erosion also means less sediment deposited in the stream channel downstream, when the current slows.
Please contact your Senator today, and tell him or her that House Bill 1565 is bad for Pennsylvania’s sportsmen and women, bad for communities and property owners, and it will remove important protections for the commonwealth’s fish and wildlife.