PURCELLVILLE, Va., March 25, 2019 — Nearly 50 volunteers from local scout groups, community organizations, students, and others joined the Town of Purcellville at the Chapman DeMary Trail on Saturday, March 16 to plant 80 seedlings along the creek. This planting completes the project to help restore the riparian buffer in this 10-acre area located within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The project was funded through a grant that the Town received from the Virginia Department of Forestry as part of their Virginia Trees for Clean Water program in 2018. This planting was the second for this project; the first one was held in April 2018. Experts with the Virginia Department of Forestry led the plantings, showing volunteers the right way to plant a seedling and how to install tubes specially designed to protect them while explaining the value of riparian buffers.
The Virginia Department of Forestry website describes a riparian buffer as 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 and soil infiltration.
- Improving water quality by filtering runoff and promoting sediment deposition.
- 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, and picnicking.
The Chapman DeMary Trail is 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. The Chapman DeMary Trail is located behind the building at 205 East Hirst Road in Purcellville. This nature park is open to the public for environmental education, recreation, and exploration, and open from dusk to dawn. To learn more about this trail, visit the Tree and Environment Sustainability Committee page at PurcellvilleVa.gov and follow the Chapman DeMary Trail Facebook page.