PURCELLVILLE, Va., April 2, 2018 — The Town of Purcellville is pleased to announce that it is a recipient of the annual Virginia Trees for Clean Water grant issued by the Virginia Department of Forestry. The project is to restore the riparian buffer at the Chapman DeMary Trail, a 10-acre area that runs along the South Fork Catoctin Creek, part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The Town of Purcellville holds the conservation easement for this privately-owned property.
What is a riparian buffer? According to the Virginia Department of Forestry website, a riparian buffer is a “streamside forest” with plants that line waterways to protect them from the impacts of surrounding land use. The functions of riparian buffers include:
- Slowing flood waters and reducing the volume of water through root absorption.
- Improving water quality by filtering runoff and promoting sediment deposition.
- Allowing water storage in plant roots and providing pathways to groundwater layers.
- Providing canopy cover which shades and cools the stream, improving habitat conditions for instream organisms (fish, salamanders, frogs, etc.). This shade also provides relief from extreme heat for terrestrial animals.
- Providing habitat for a variety of birds and small mammals. These buffers also act as corridors to similar habitat, providing food, shelter and nesting sites.
Riparian areas also provide great opportunities for recreational activities such as fishing, hiking, bird-watching, picnicking and camping.
To plant the hundreds of tree seedlings that will help restore the riparian buffer, we will hold two community planting days. The first will be Sunday, April 29 starting at 1 p.m., part of the monthly Discover Nature’s Secrets events hosted by the Purcellville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board as well as Loudoun Nature Days hosted by the Loudoun Environmental Stewardship Alliance. The second will be held on October 28. Both plantings will be led by the Virginia Department of Forestry. These plantings will be a great way to get involved in helping our environment, to learn more about native trees and riparian buffers, and—for students and scouts—to get volunteer hours. After consulting with the Virginia Department of Forestry and the Town’s certified arborist, the following native trees have been selected for this important project: black cherry, pin oak, red maple, red osier dogwood, river birch, swamp white oak,
sycamore, and willow oak. If you plan to join us for these plantings, please dress appropriately for being in the woods and bring your own shovel and work gloves.
The Chapman DeMary Trail is located behind the building at 205 East Hirst Road in Purcellville. This nature park is available to the public for environmental education, recreation, and exploration, and open from dusk to dawn. To learn more about this trail, visit PurcellvilleVa.gov on the Tree and Environment Sustainability Committee page and the Chapman DeMary Trail Facebook page.