Trees can be a stream’s best friend

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By CurrentCast

This story originally appeared on CurrentCast and is republished here with permission.

Vibrant greens and cleaner streams? Yes, please. Image: USDA NRCS

Tree-lined streams aren’t just pretty—healthy trees also make for healthier streams. How’s that, you ask?

A review of more than 200 studies about streams led Bern Sweeney, PhD, director and senior research scientist of Pennsylvania’s Stroud Water Research Center, to an intriguing conclusion.

“If we had 100 feet of forest on either side of any given stream, we would be able to put that stream in a much better condition to support wildlife, to be swimmable, to be fishable—but also to provide the ecosystem services that we desperately need.”

He says trees help improve the health of the stream by capturing runoff and providing shade and food for aquatic animals. As a result, the stream is better able to process fertilizers, toxins, and other pollutants—providing a cleaner, healthier water supply we can all appreciate.

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