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Water Resources Stewardship

Riparian Conservation

The riparian area is the zone of transition between land and water. A healthy riparian area is vegetated with appropriate native plants and is essential for stream health and water quality.


When people live or farm close to streams, vegetation in riparian areas is commonly disturbed or removed. This disturbance quickly begins to unravel the delicate balance that once existed between soil, water, plants, and animals. Stream banks quickly become destabilized, streams become silted and warm, invasive plant species begin to colonize, and riparian-dependent wildlife disappears.


The goal of ClearWater’s Riparian Conservation Program is to improve stream quality throughout Central Pennsylvania through the program’s four areas of focus: stream assessment, stewardship, restoration, and protection. The program educates streamside landowners on the role of vegetated buffers, restores streamside buffers with native trees and shrubs, and permanently protects riparian areas through conservation easements.

Watershed Cleanup Day

Every April, ClearWater Conservancy celebrates Earth Day with Watershed Cleanup Day, a fun and positive way to combat littering and illegal dumping in and around the region's waterways. Each year, over 500 volunteers work together for hours to clear and properly dispose of trash from roadsides, parks, streams, and sinkholes. Over 17.73 tons of trash were cleared in 2018, and over 6.195 million pounds of trash have been cleared since 1997! This event is made possible every year thanks to a partnership between ClearWater Conservancy, Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority, and the main funders of the event, the MS4 Partners (State College Borough, College, Ferguson, Harris, and Patton Townships; and Penn State. 

Growing Native Program

Growing Native Programs are well established in the Potomac area and are growing across Pennsylvania.


ClearWater’s Growing Native Program in Centre County collects and propagates locally native species for use primarily in riparian restoration projects. The use of local populations of target species ensures success because these resources have the most suitable genetic material for the local environmental conditions and expanding the occurrence of these plants improves our local watersheds.


Most riparian species are grown from cuttings which are set to root in outdoor beds, under shade cloth, with drip hoses, including various dogwoods, shrub willows, common elderberry, red-berried elder, common ninebark, American blackcurrant, and various viburnums. Other species are grown from seed, including bladdernut, spicebush, honey-locust, black locust, redbud, winterberry, hornbeam and hawthorn Volunteers assemble at “potting parties” whenever they’re needed to get the seedlings and cuttings planted into pots.


If you’d like to work with the Growing Native program please Click Here to fill our online volunteer form. For more information about how you can enhance or protect your riparian property or to volunteer for the Riparian Restoration Crew, please contact Colleen DeLong at (814) 237-0400 or

Interested in learning more about putting a buffer on your property to prevent pollution from entering your waterway and stabilize stream banks? You'll want to speak with Colleen, our Habitat Stewardship Biologist.

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