Lower Saucon Township

Environmental Advisory Council

3700 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bethlehem, PA 18015
~ 610-865-3291 ~

Welcome to the EAC Water page

wooden rain barrel

Did you know...80% of water that falls on grass ends up as runoff?

Did you know...stormwater runoff causes more pollution than industrial sources?

What can you do to help reduce this problem?

Build your own rain barrel! Now you can not only enjoy the rain from inside the comfort of your own home, you can also know that you are saving money on your water bill and reducing water pollution. For easy instructions on how to build your own rain barrel, check out the Center for Watershed Protection's step- by-step guide here.

plastic rain barrel

A hefty portion of the 100 million pounds of household pesticides Americans purchase each year is poured on their lawns and yards and can end up in streams and groundwater. Find out how to tend your turf organically at www.safelawns.org/.

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What is a Streamside Buffer and Why are they Important?
streamside buffer

A stream side buffer includes both the plants and soil along side a stream. This may include meadow grasses, shrubs, trees or any combination of these. Working together, the plants and soil nourish and protect the stream. A healthy buffer can also slow run-off and remove harmful sediments and contaminants before they enter the stream.

A Health Streamside Buffer Provides Many Benefits:

Filters Pollution - A stream side buffer slows surface run-off giving rainwater time to seep into the ground before it enters the stream. This ground-seeping process filters out toxins such as herbicides, pesticides and excess fertilizers that can contaminate the stream.

stream bank erosionPrevents Erosion - Buffers prevent harmful erosion and sedimentation. Erosion robs your yard of essential topsoil and nutrients. Soil sediments washing into the stream destroy the habitat of aquatic insects, removing a basic part of the food chain that fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals depend on.

Shown at left is an example of stream banks being eroded due to a lack of a proper buffer.

Reduces Flooding - Stream bank buffers provide greater resistance to run-off flow than maintained lawns, slowing the rate at which heavy rains enter streams and rivers. Run-off from a lawn can be almost as great as run-off from asphalt!

Stabilizes Stream Banks- The roots of trees and shrubs form a network or physical barrier that holds soil and prevents the soil from being washed away during heavy rains. Grass roots are shallow and are not as effective at holding a stream bank or reducing flooding.

Provides Habitat - One of the most important benefits of a stream side buffer is the creation of habitat. Create a buffer, and you're providing food and shelter for wildlife. You and your family can enjoy a wide variety of nature from beautiful butterflies to frogs, turtles, birds and small mammals.

river bufferRegulates Water Temperature - Shade from trees and shrubs stabilizes water temperature and keeps it cooler. Cooler water is essential for water quality and local aquatic life.

Provides Nutrients - A buffer provides a stream with up to 90% of its nutrients in the form of fallen leaves. The food chain of a healthy stream starts with leaves falling into the stream.

Provides Landowner Benefits - The improved visual appearance of a stabilized, healthy functioning stream can increase property values. Improved water quality also can provide recreational opportunities such as fishing and hiking, for you, your family and neighbors as well as enhanced wildlife habitat and reduced flooding potential.

 

How Do I Create a Streamside Buffer?

It's not difficult to create a buffer. A streamside buffer is one of the most cost-effective and maintenance-free ways to enhance your property.

1. Eliminate obvious non-native invasive plants such as muti-flora rose, Japanese honeysuckle and purple loosestrife.
multi flora rose Japanese honeysuckle Purple loosestrife
Shown above from left to right are multi flora rose, Japanese honeysuckle and purple loosestrife.

2. When you mow your lawn, stop short. Leave a minimum of 25 - 30 feet of un mowed area to the edge of the stream. With a streamside buffer, wider is better, but even a small strip of native vegetation is better than none.

3. If bare lawn currently extends to the edges of the stream, add perennials, shrubs and trees. Plant one area at a time if you need for affordability.

4. Go native. Native plants will add to you viewing pleasure and provide food and habitat for birds and other wildlife. Native plants require minimal care and will be more successful. To learn more about native plants, check the website for Edge of the Woods Nursery, a local native plant nursery.

5. Plant native vegetation in early spring or fall to lessen the need for watering.

6. Choose the right plants. To establish a streamside buffer choose plants that are: native and suited to this climate, relatively fast-growing, able to thrive in wet soils and able to withstand periodic flooding.

 

water bottle

Fast Facts - A water bottle requires17.5 times its weight in water to produce. Drinking more water from the tap and refilling your water bottles is a water saving action.
A soft drink requires 8 times its volume in water to produce.
So drinking more tap water actually saves water!

Did you know ? . . .

Lower Saucon Township contains parts of 2 watersheds. The Saucon Creek Watershed and the Cooks Creek Watershed both draw waters from within our township.

mountain stream

What is a watershed?
It can be defined as the region draining into a river, river system, or other body of water. To the naked eye you cannot tell exactly where watershed boundaries are. What makes it tricky is that the water which drains is not just on the surface, it is also underground as well.



Saucon Creek Watershed logo
Saucon Creek Watershed

The newly formed Saucon Creek Watershed Committee will be working toward protecting and preserving the Saucon Creek. The creek is 16.5 miles long and is a major tributary to the Lehigh River.

To learn more, drop in on a meeting. The group meets from 7 - 9 pm on the 3rd Thursday of the month at Seidersville Hall (located beside Lower Saucon Township's Municipal Building on Old Philadelphia Pike, Bethlehem.) To learn more, email Keri Maxfield.

CCW logoCooks Creek Watershed
The Cooks Creek Watershed Association has been in existence for 30 years. The Watershed has been designated as an Exceptional Value Cold Water Fishery and is the only wild brown trout and native brook trout fishery in Bucks County. The watershed is home to numerous rare and endangered species, including several rare reptiles and amphibians.

Cooks Creek Watershed is a 30-square-mile limestone valley watershed in northern Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The main stem of Cooks Creek flows east into the Delaware River. The watershed area consists of a number of small, mostly unnamed tributaries with approximately 24 square miles in Springfield Township and 5.5 square miles in Durham Township. Some headwater tributaries are located in Lower Saucon Township.

To learn more, attend one of their meetings. The group meets on the 4th Thursday each month at 7:30 pm at the Springtown Fire House. You may also visit their website at: www.cookscreekpa.org/

email logo Email us at: LSTEAC@LowerSauconEnvironment.org

         

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