A group of conservation partners in Bradford County, Pennsylvania are single-minded on how they appeal to landowners about incorporating riparian forest buffers –they made it a requirement in order to receive other funding for BMPs on their farm.
Representatives from the Bradford County Conservation District (BCCD), Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), and USDA-NRCS join forces to leverage dollars and other resources. Bradford County CREP Partners began their innovative focus on riparian forest buffers in 1998. The effort brought funding from various sources for best management practices (BMPs) on the farm and targeted riparian forest buffers. The creation of the “Buffer Bonus” program– that awards landowners cash incentives for installing riparian forest buffers to be used toward other BMPs on the farm– was born in Bradford County.
Through staff promotion, cost-share for buffer establishment and post-planting care, and other practices, partners have garnered more than 10 million to enable county farmers to implement whole farm conservation projects, including forest buffers. The group’s ability to prioritize riparian reforestation best explains their success in getting 3,000 acres installed over 15 years. The Bradford County CREP Partners were 2015 recipients of the Chesapeake Forest Champion Award.