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Default Buffer Resources

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Old January 30th, 2009, 03:52 PM
Donna C M.'s Avatar
Donna C M. Donna C M. is offline
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Rupert Rosetti unleashed a buffer discussion last week that resulted in a wonderful repository of resources. I've set up a folder for these here: http://www.chesapeakenetwork.org/lib...81&lid=5&wf=19
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Donna Morelli
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Default Riparian Buffer Composite Feedback

  #2  
Old January 31st, 2009, 08:47 AM
Mr. Rupert R. Mr. Rupert R. is offline
 
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Yes, I certainly did unleash a wave of emails and postings. I've composited the feedback and posted most of the documents in the link Donna referenced.

The next three postings contain the composite feedback received to date.

Last edited by Mr. Rupert R.; January 31st, 2009 at 09:05 AM..
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Default Composite Feedback part 1

  #3  
Old January 31st, 2009, 08:50 AM
Mr. Rupert R. Mr. Rupert R. is offline
 
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From: Mr. Rupert Rossetti <RupertRossetti@aol.com>
Subject: [Maryland] Two questions on buffer widths & steep slope protection
To: Maryland@chesapeakenetwork.org
Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 5:43 PM
Hello all,

I'm up in Cecil County, working on the 20 year review of our Comp Plan, and received the following questions from one of my colleagues on the citizens committee. I've already got "Conservation Thresholds for Land Use Planners", courtesy of Nick Williams. Would much appreciate any help you can give me.

"Another question: the county has a 110' perennial stream buffer and a 25' intermittent stream buffer. I think we both agree that may not be adequate. Do you have information on stream buffer widths in other counties, and national studies on stream buffer widths?

Also, I believe Harford County has changed their steep slope protection to slopes of 15%, whereas Cecil maintains the 25% standard? Do you have information on this area?"

Many thanks

Rupert Rossetti
Cecil County

=========================================

Subject: RE: [Maryland] Two questions on buffer widths & steep slope protection
Date: 1/27/2009 5:52:04 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: tbrown@biohabitats.com
To: RupertRossetti@aol.com
Attachment: wengerbufferlitreview.pdf

Rupert
Quick response is that there is lots of info out there. Hard part is compiling it all. Attached is a now dated but still good paper by Seth Wenger from UGA that you might find useful. I imagine you will get a lot of responses. Hope things are well.

Regards,
Ted Brown

===============================================

Subject: Re: [Maryland] Two questions on buffer widths & steep slope protection
Date: 1/27/2009 6:58:38 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: biophilia@verizon.net
To: RupertRossetti@aol.com

Hi Rupert:

There is scant science on this because of the number of variables; soils, slope, orientation etc. Suffice it to say that the wider the better. Warm season grasses and trees are best as they have deepest roots. Maryland CREP has a minimum width of 35 feet, the rest of the CREP programs nationally use 50 feet, which I would use as a minimum.

Please keep in mind that when Talbot County was considering making a 35 foot buffer mandatory for ag fields early in 2008 they were told by USDA that a mandatory buffer requirement would make cost-share through CREP ineligible as that is by policy a voluntary only program ..something to think about.

All the best,

Richard Pritzlaff
President

Biophilia Foundation
61 Cornhill Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
410-268-1802
410-268-1803 fax
www.biophiliafoundation.org


================================================== ==

Subject: FW: buffer widths
Date: 1/28/2009 8:52:01 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: jokay@chesapeakebay.net
To: RupertRossetti@aol.com

Link: www.cwp.org query “riparian buffer”.

The Center For Watershed Protection has a list of 30 sample ordinances regarding riparian buffers www.cwp.org query “riparian buffer”. The Chesapeake Bay Program uses 100 ft buffers in their modeling application for nutrient reduction. The NRCS uses a minimum 35 ft buffer for their cost share programs. I have a list of buffer widths and the benefits received that I have gathered from scientific literature, because of the weather I am working home today and don't have access to some of my work computer drives. I am attaching a width graphic made up from the literature findings. I can email the rest of the information tomorrow when I am in the office.

Judy Okay, PhD
Riparian Specialist
Chesapeake Bay Program
410-295-1311

==================================

Subject: RE: [Maryland] Two questions on buffer widths & steep slope protection
Date: 1/29/2009 8:30:11 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: jokay@chesapeakebay.net
To: RupertRossetti@aol.com

Attachment: widthcontroversy

Also, the Klapproth reference has a statement about increasing buffer
width for increases in slope. In Maryland it is 4ft of buffer for every
increase of 1 % of side slope. I believer Klapproth says 5 ft for every
1 % increase of slope. So take a look and see if you get what you need
from the paper or some of the references. Judy Okay

================================================== =======

Subject: Buffer studies
Date: 1/28/2009 9:14:16 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: diawilson@state.pa.us
To: RupertRossetti@aol.com


Mr. Rupert,

Your request for information about stream buffer widths was forwarded to me. Numerous studies have been done on this topic and the general consensus is that a minimum width of 100 feet of forested buffer is necessary for substantial water quality protection. Let me know if you want further information and I can send you some links to articles.

Diane Wilson| Chief, Watershed Support Section
Department of Environmental Protection
Rachel Carson State Office Building
400 Market Street | Harrisburg, PA 17101
Phone: 717.787.3730 | Fax: 717.787.9549
www.depweb.state.pa.us

================================================== ====

Subject: Re: [Maryland] Two questions on buffer widths & steep slope protection
Date: 1/28/2009 9:22:48 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: jacklynch2006@yahoo.com
To: Maryland@chesapeakenetwork.org, RupertRossetti@aol.com

Attachments:
• stream_buffers.doc …. Some research I used for our ordinance advocacy
• CW_StreamPrttctOrd.pdf …. Frederick County's ordinance

Moderate slope 15 - 25 %,
Steep slope: 25% +

Minimum 100 feet setback - if 60% or more of the 175-foot cross section includes moderate (15% to <25%) slopes, then the waterbody buffer shall be increased to 150 feet.
If the toe and the crest of a moderate (15% to <25%) slope and the adjoining backslope are located within the 175-foot cross-section, the waterbody buffer will extend to the crest of the moderate (15% to <25%) slope, or 100 feet, whichever is greater.
If 60% or more of the 175-foot cross-section includes steep (25% or greater) slopes, then the waterbody buffer shall be increased to 175 feet.
Hope this is helpful.

Jack Lynch

===============================================

Subject: RE: [Maryland] Two questions on buffer widths & steep slope protection
Date: 1/28/2009 9:47:28 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: LEpstein@cbf.org
To: RupertRossetti@aol.com
CC: AGirard@cbf.org

Attachment: BufferWidthRrpt_EPA_Oct2005

Rupert,

I have attached an EPA report from a few years ago that collected information on buffers; I hope it is helpful. Re the steep slope matter, my own view is that the 15% standard, being more conservative and more protective, is better. There are ways to structure the ordinance to allow for adjustable buffers based upon extent of the slope and its location proximate to streams, and I know that a number of Maryland jurisdictions use those methods.

Lee Epstein
Director, Lands Program, CBF

================================================== =

Subject: RE: [Maryland] Two questions on buffer widths & steep slope protection
Date: 1/28/2009 10:36:23 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: ASTRANG@dnr.state.md.us
To: RupertRossetti@aol.com, Maryland@chesapeakenetwork.org

Attachment: RiparianSetbackTechPaper via link: http://broadkill.ocean.udel.edu/Reso...kTechPaper.pdf

There's a good science synthesis out of Ohio that covers ecosystem services rationales for protecting riparian buffers and considerations for local governments to implement ordinances. Details on width are around page number 39 (p. 46 in the pdf page count) and include summaries of studies that have surveyed widths in buffer ordinances. It includes references to steep slopes as it relates to buffer expansion.

Anne Hairston-Strang
MD DNR Forest Service

================================================== ==

Subject: RE: [Maryland] RE: Two questions on buffer widths & steep slope protection
Date: 1/28/2009 11:06:48 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: TCummings@cbf.org
To: RupertRossetti@aol.com
CC: jacklynch2006@yahoo.com

Rupert - as you probably know, we were shooting for 300' in the critical area and that got amended to 200'. The CAC has some good info to justify the 300' but it is more about habitat protection than water quality. Also, our friends in Frederick County were successful in expanding their stream buffer ordinance recently. You should talk with Jack about it.
How are your bees fairing?
TC

Last edited by Mr. Rupert R.; January 31st, 2009 at 09:14 AM..
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Default Composite Feedback part 2

  #4  
Old January 31st, 2009, 08:53 AM
Mr. Rupert R. Mr. Rupert R. is offline
 
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Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2009 08:24:04
From: "Tiffany Wright" <tw@cwp.org>
Subject: RE: Two questions on buffer widths & steep slope protection

Attachments:
• BaltimoreCoBFBDocument
• Carroll%20County%20consensus
• CWP Buffer ordinance research

Hi all,

Two things--

1) I recently did some buffer research for an EIS we're writing in NY & am attaching that. It has some info from different places across the country. FYI - this was just put together to use as a reference for us as we wrote the EIS, so it's not in perfect shape. Also, they had several specific issues that may not apply, but obviously the widths will.

2) The Center has done several code reviews throughout Maryland, and worked with several counties to conduct a Better Site Design roundtable. For those that are not familiar with it, the roundtable process, as an fyi & in a nutshell starts when we conduct an audit of various codes related to development, natural area preservation & impervious cover. The goal is that future new development reduces imperviousness and protects natural area while still providing a sellable product.
Then we venture into what is typically a year-long process, often working with the Alliance & Nat'l Assn of Home Builders, on a series of meetings with local govt folks, developers, citizen groups, etc. to come up with a consensus that spells out the specific code language changes that they support (and sign onto) related to the various principles. Since these are local examples I wanted to send you that, too! Once upon a time, we did this in Harford and Worcester Counties & more recently for Baltimore & Carroll. I have attached the consensus documents from these last two, as I still have them on my computer.

Hope this isn't too long or unhelpful.
Cheers!
-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^
Tiffany Wright, Watershed Analyst
Center for Watershed Protection
8390 Main St 2nd Floor
Ellicott City, MD 21043
P: 410-461-8323 F: 410-461-8324
www.stormwatercenter.net

Message: 4
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2009 08:38:10
From: "Tiffany Wright" <tw@cwp.org>
Subject: RE: Two questions on buffer widths & steep slope protection

Link: www.amlegal.com/library/

Sorry - I wanted to add one more thing

I've done close to a dozen code reviews in the last six years, and as most of you probably know, there are several websites that host municipal codes. The one that I have used the least, because it has the least number of municipalities is American Legal Publishers, but...they have a great feature where you can search multiple jurisdictions' codes at once, which you can't do on municode. You can actually search all codes on their website across the country, but MD communities that are available are: Montgomery, Anne Arundel, & Garrett (and Baltimore & Frederick Counties).

The url is: http://www.amlegal.com/library/ If you want MD, hit it on the map or the drop down menu, and you'll see a link to the counties mentioned above. I quickly typed in the word "buffer", and got about 40 hits. I didn't look at them, and I suspect that some of the hits were for buffers between land uses, as well as riparian buffers, but modifying the search term will help.

anyway, maybe that will help.
tw

========================================


Subject: Frederick County (MD) stream buffer ord...
Date: 1/29/2009 8:14:25 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: TGoodfellow@fredco-md.net
To: rupertrossetti@aol.com

Hello Rupert,

Frederick County adopted a new stream protection ordinance in August of 2008. We gathered and summarized lots of studies, scientific literature and other codes + ordinances as part of the initiative. I'd be glad to send you this information if you'd like.

We now have three tiers of stream buffer, depending on the extent and degree of slope present in the defined stream valley corridor or study area: 100 feet, 150 feet, 175 feet. In a particular watershed in the County that contains a surface water reservoir, the ordinance is a bit different in that the steep slope setback extends to the top of the steep slope, which could be 345 feet or more...

Tim

Tim Goodfellow, AICP
Principal Planner II
Frederick County
12 East Church Street
Frederick, MD 21701
p: 301.600.2508
f: 301.600.2054


=========================================

Subject: RE: [Maryland] Two questions on buffer widths & steep slope protection
Date: 1/29/2009 8:49:36 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: erik@southriverfederation.net
To: RupertRossetti@aol.com

Attachment: FINALSTREAMDOC

Dear Rupert,
You've already gotten a lot of great responses, but just to share a bit more
information, I'm on an Advisory Committee for the Anne Arundel County
comprehensive plan, and I undertook a similar exercise. Currently, our plan
has areas where a 25' buffer is allowed, though it is increased in areas
where slope is greater, etc. Nevertheless, in my research, it appears to me
that a 100'minimum is really what you're going to need in order to protect
the resource. I've attached a good summary paper on the issue as well.
Thanks.

Erik Michelsen


=======================================

Subject: RE: [Maryland] Two questions on buffer widths & steep slope protection
Date: 1/30/2009 7:37:56 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: kheilman@ccg.carr.org
To: RupertRossetti@aol.com

Attachment: CarrollCowrmmanual

Hello,
Here in Carroll County, we calculate a variable stream buffer on all streams, including intermittent streams. These are verified through a County approved environmental site delineation.
The average stream valley slope is measured 100 ft, perpendicularly, from the edge of the stream bank. Then, the stream buffer is calculated by adding 2 ft for each one percent of the average stream valley slope, to the minimum stream buffer width (50ft). Wetlands and slopes greater than 25% are not counted toward the calculation.

You can find a more thorough description on pages 10-11 of the Carroll County Water Resource Management Manual; available at: http://ccgovernment.carr.org/ccg/resmgmt/wrmmanual.pdf

If this link does not work correctly, you can navigate from the Bureau of Resource Management homepage: http://ccgovernment.carr.org/ccg/resmgmt/default.asp

Hope you find this information useful!

Kate Heilman
Water Resource Specialist
Carroll County Government
(410)386-2978
~~~~ ><((((º> ><((((º> ><((((º> ~~~~~

Last edited by Mr. Rupert R.; January 31st, 2009 at 09:17 AM..
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Default Composite Feedback part 3

  #5  
Old January 31st, 2009, 09:04 AM
Mr. Rupert R. Mr. Rupert R. is offline
 
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Subject: why stream valley protection is important.
Date: 1/28/2009 1:58:44 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: bonniebick@gmail.com
To: RupertRossetti@aol.com

Attachments:
• Mattawoman Stream Valley Delineation
• QuotesfromArmyCorpManagementPlan


Rupert,

Hope this information about Stream Valley protection helps you.

Attached is a report from DNR and how & why they did the stream valley delineation.

The most relevant paragraph from the DNR report on why it is important to protect stream valleys:

"The results of the USACOE study indicated that the protection of the Mattawoman Stream Valley (defined as the valley bottom and its adjacent slopes) was the single most effective management activity to reduce pollutant loadings in the Creek, considering an anticipated increase in development in the watershed. Protecting the Stream Valley yielded statistically significant reductions in nitrogen, phosphorous, and total suspended solids, especially as reduced peak concentrations during storm events. It also significantly reduced high flows during storms and resulted in a higher baseflow. Compliance with current National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations alone did not yield a significant reduction in water quality pollutants or peak discharge (USACOE 2003). As a result, the USACOE Watershed Management Plan recommended that Charles County more precisely determine the boundary of the Mattawoman Stream Valley using high-resolution elevation data, such as Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) data, as a priority in planning to protect water quality for Mattawoman Creek."

The above paragraph points out baseflow improves--so habitat is improved.

Note that the stream valley protection is not a panacea. It reduces discharge volumes by only about 10% as I recall reading in the Watershed Management Plan. But of the limited measures available to the Corps, it was the only one that helped--storm water management evidently didn't cut it. Nick Carter, retired DNR fisheries scientist, told me years ago that protecting the riparian zone around all streams, including the low-order & intermittents, was a crucial step to protecting aquatic quality. The organic material that is metered to small streams by their forests represent the foundation of the food web that ultimately support River Herring, Shad, Bass, etc. The life and hydrology in small streams conspire to break down leaves, branches, etc. to deliver the right amounts of food over the right times (like Goldilocks: not to much & not too little).

A way to refute the argument that the stream valley delineation is "massive" is by referring to quote from the EPA-led Chesapeake Bay Program report that found [Chesapeake Bay 2006 Health & Restoration Assessment, Part Two: Restoration Efforts Chesapeake Bay Program, 2007, Report identifiers CBP/TRS 284/07; EPA 093R-07002. (www.chesapeakebay.net/assess)]:

"The pollution increases associated with land development—such as converting farms and forests to urban and suburban developments—have surpassed the gains achieved from improved landscape design and stormwater management practices. . . . Pollution from urban and suburban lands is now the only pollution sector in the Bay watershed that is still growing."

In Charles County the buffers in the development district are reduced, even though that is where you most need protection. Consider this tidbit from the county's Resource Protection Zone ordinance [http://landuse.law.pace.edu/landuse/...unty_RPZ.doc]:

A.The buffer shall be expanded beyond the minimum [stream] buffer to account for nontidal wetlands adjacent to the stream as follows:

(1)Within the development district, to include all lands 25 feet from the outer edge of nontidal wetlands adjacent to the stream channel.

(2)Outside the development district, to include all lands measured from the edge of nontidal wetlands adjacent to the stream channel measuring 50 feet for intermittent streams or perennial streams of stream order one and two or 100 feet for perennial streams of stream order three and four.

Last edited by Mr. Rupert R.; January 31st, 2009 at 09:37 AM..
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Default It depends!!!

  #6  
Old December 8th, 2010, 01:24 PM
Zack W R. Zack W R. is offline
 
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I believe the 'best width' depends on the specific situation. Standardized widths and 'cookie cutter' buffer plans are great for getting work done quickly and efficiently, but you should still consider the factors taht make your site unique.

A massive sprawling impervious surfaces near your stream on steep slopes might really justify a WIDE buffer. Acres of long ago abandoned fallow flat pastureland surounding your stream might not need such a wide buffer. Compacted clay prone to overland flow might require a wider buffer than well drained stable soils.

I enjoy the concept 'wider is better' but that too is oversimplified. If a wider buffer consumes time/money/effort, then you need to really consider the costs, and where resources are best spent.
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