The Do’s and Don’ts of Stream Maintenance


West Goshen Township is committed to keeping its creeks and streams clean and safe. You can do your part by following these guidelines:



  • Plant native trees and shrubs along your stream. The roots of woody plants stabilize the banks and reduce erosion. In addition to  shading, cooling and improving water quality, the leaves, flowers and seeds of native plants also support terrestrial and aquatic life and their interdependent relationships.
  • Allow naturally occurring debris, such as fallen logs, leaves and rocks to remain in place in streams. Such materials provide food and shelter for aquatic life and hydrologic stability as well.
  • Use composted leaves and other natural fertilizers as needed to limit or avoid application of chemicals, and maintain septic tanks. Lawn chemicals and septic pollutants easily find their way into streams, where they damage or kill insects, fish, amphibians, birds and plants.
  • Maintain or create buffer zones (35-100’ or, if you can manage it, 200’) along streams and wetlands. Buffer zones absorb water and filter out chemical fertilizers and sediment, with 35’ bands having a filtering capacity of about 67%.


  • Remove native vegetation from stream banks or buffer zones and leaf litter from soils. These protect and add nutrients to our soils and support terrestrial and aquatic food webs.
  • Dump swimming pool water or non-biodegradable water directly into streams or storm sewers. Storm sewers flow directly into streams and should not carry chlorine and detergents to aquatic life.
  • Mow and maintain lawn in the stream buffer zone. Turf does not make a good buffer, especially on slopes. Its shallow roots do not stabilize soils as well as native trees, shrubs and grasses and other herbaceous plants.
  • Throw grass clippings or yard waste into the stream. Excess debris and grass clippings reduce oxygen in the stream, killing fish and other aquatic life. Such materials should be composted or removed on Township yard-waste collection days.
  • Dump oil, antifreeze or other toxins into streams or sewers (sanitary or storm). Dispose of these chemicals at approved disposal centers or on hazardous waste collection days.

Sources:  Chester Ridley Crum Watersheds Association with Goshen Tree Tenders

Comments are closed.