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Multifunctional Riparian Forest Buffer

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The DCNR Multifunctional Riparian Forest Buffer Program provides reimbursable grants to organizations to establish riparian forest buffers.

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Eligible Applicants:  Any pre-qualified individual, local government, educational organization, non-profit, or for-profit entity in Pennsylvania. Interested applicants may pre-qualify between July 1 and August 31.

Eligible Activities:  Landowner outreach*, buffer design*, site preparation and buffer installation, plant materials and tree shelters, and short term maintenance (approximately 3 years).  *A maximum of 5% of the grant amount can be used for “administrative costs”, which includes project planning tasks such as landowner outreach and education, site visits, buffer design, managing procurement etc.

Project Requirements:  All buffers must include a minimum 15-foot-wide no-harvest zone next to the streambank of native tree and shrub species (zone 1) with additional acreage dedicated to multifunctional buffer plant species (zones 2 and 3). Applicants are strongly encouraged to implement an average buffer width of at least 35 feet.  Applicants who undertake a buffer project must be willing to enter into a landowner agreement with each participating landowner for a minimum of 25 years. The agreement will address maintenance requirements among other considerations.

Grant Details:  Applicants must be pre-qualified to receive a grant. The minimum grant amount will be determined during the prequalification process. The maximum grant amount is $1,000,000 (one million dollars). Grants do not require match.


DCNR service foresters will be available to provide technical assistance and advice on communications and outreach efforts, buffer design and species selection, and maintenance practices; they can also participate in partnerships and watershed-level projects.