By Jon Musselman, Upstream Municipal Watershed Planner

Because TTF is all about buffers, we were honored to participate in the recent Trees for Water forum hosted by American Rivers in partnership with the Brandywine Conservancy and Clean Water Fund under a Clean Water Fund grant generously provided by the William Penn Foundation! I was proud to have the opportunity to showcase TTF’s many buffer projects as part of “Riparian Buffer Snapshots” during the forum’s lunch session.


Riparian means “along a creek” and a “buffer” is something that provides protection. Riparian buffers are forested or meadow areas alongside creeks that protect water quality and overall ecology.

More than half of our creek miles in Montgomery County lack either any buffer or only have a buffer on one bank. Many areas of existing buffers are choked with invasive trees, vines, and Japanese knotweed, making them much less beneficial.

TTF is very motivated to protect our creeks, and we actively plant, expand, maintain, and encourage the planting of more and more buffers along the Tookany Creek and its tributaries. We’ve even planted buffers in backyards! Last year we planted two new buffers to add to the 12 we have planted since 2009. Together, these buffers total almost 1,500 lineal feet of stream and 54,000 square feet.

Students and teachers plant a riparian buffer along the Jenkintown Creek in 2014.

Students and teachers plant a buffer along the Jenkintown Creek at Abington Friends School.

Read about our newest buffers: Planting with St. Basil Academy and A Community Planting Day at Abington’s Ethel Jordan Park.

Thinking about a buffer on your creekside property? Below are some great resources for you to learn more about riparian buffers. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information!

Riparian Buffer Resources:

Pennsylvania Stream Releaf: A Plan for Restoring and Conserving Buffers Along Pennsylvania Streams, Pennsylvania Land Trust Association

Caring for Your Streamside Property, Pennsyvania Environmental Council

The Stroud Preserve Reforested Riparian Buffer, Stroud Water Research Center

Riparian Buffers, Delaware River Keeper Network

The Science Behind the Need for Riparian Buffer Protection, Pennsylvania Land Trust Association

Riparian Buffer Preservation, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

About Julie

Julie Slavet is TTF's Executive Director. She has over 20 years of experience in community affairs, program development, and personnel management. Julie earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Smith College and an M.S. in Public Affairs from the University of Massachusetts. Julie has served as an Advisor to the Jenkintown Community Alliance and a Director of the Montgomery County Democratic Women’s Leadership Initiative. Contact Julie at 215.844.8100 or


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