Roots for Rivers is a partnership of Sustainable Jersey and the Nature Conservancy with the goal to plant 100,000 trees in New Jersey floodplains by 2020. Once achieved, the new forests will protect communities from flooding, erosion and other problems arising from the loss of trees within these delicate ecozones.
What is a floodplain?
A floodplain is a low laying area adjacent to a stream or river that experiences flooding during periods of high rainfall and storms. Over the last century floodplains have been greatly impacted by the loss of trees and other plants. These losses contribute to a reduced water quality as well as makes for a greater risk of erosion and sedimentation.
The site we selected for this years Roots for Rivers project is a long, narrow strip of land running parallel to Clark St and is near the historic neighborhood of Montrose. Our planting plan includes over 300 native trees and shrubs all of varying sizes. All of the plants we selected will attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies as well as birds. The current conditions of the site do not have any flowering plants or much seasonal interest, so we did our best to make sure the new plantings will provide more dynamic color from spring to fall.
Reforesting within Urban Towns
South Orange isn’t the standard place you might think of reforestation happening. It is highly urbanized and getting denser by the minute. Reforestation projects always seem to be occurring out in rural areas where traffic is low and people live far apart. And though less dense areas have big chunks of land for such efforts, urban places need to find as many opportunities for this type of project as they can. The benefits from trees in urbanized places are well documented.
Funding and Planting
The Roots for Rivers program only provides funding for plants, tree tubes and delivery of the materials. Labor and design services are volunteer-based and community-driven. That means that all the holes that need to be dug to plant the trees will be dug by residents and volunteers. Last year, nearly 50 people came out over a series of weekends to plant the flora. This year, we will need just as many people. This type of grassroots effort is good for towns. It roots a sense of ownership to improving the places we live. It’s also just really awesome to get your hands dirty for a very good cause.