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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 13, 2021 06:02 PM
From: Representative Joe Webster
To: All House members
Subject: Protecting Riparian Buffer
Pennsylvania is blessed with beautiful rivers and streams that crisscross our communities, supply millions of Pennsylvanians with clean drinking water, and create a robust outdoor recreational economy. Yet many of our streams are threatened by pollution, severe erosion, and the loss of healthy forested “riparian” buffers along their shores. Forested riparian buffers provide for cooler water temperatures and improve habitat and food for fish and other aquatic life. Forested riparian buffers are also critical for protecting homes, businesses, and communities from flooding and flood damages by effectively reducing, absorbing, and filtrating floodwaters. In addition, the wider and more diversely planted a riparian buffer is, the more likely it will serve as an effective natural filter and provide for more stabilized streambanks, thereby reducing erosion and flooding overall.

In order to address the importance of protecting our waterways, particularly during land development projects, I will be introducing legislation that would provide for a minimum 100 foot riparian buffer along each side of a surface body of water, with a minimum 300 foot buffer if located along streams that have been designated as High Quality or Exceptional Value. This bill will provide additional powers and duties to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the enforcement of related regulations. In addition, it will authorize and encourage municipalities to adopt regulations applicable to riparian buffer protections that can recognize their community’s unique goals and values. I hope you will join me in supporting this important measure.

Introduced as HB714