UMCA News Release
MU field day focuses on stream, forest health, Oct. 27
Oct. 6, 2005
NEW FRANKLIN, Mo. - Missouri landowners interested in slowing erosion and nutrient runoff along tree-lined streams while benefiting wildlife should plan to attend a free field day, Oct. 27, at the University of Missouri Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin, Mo.
The event focuses on managing riparian forests and buffers, said Dusty Walter, program coordinator and senior research specialist for the MU Center for Agroforestry.
"Riparian areas are those places where land and water come together," Walter said. "It's the land adjacent to streams, ponds and lakes. We'll be presenting some of the research at the center and how it can be applied to protect water quality."
Check-in opens at 8:30 a.m.; the field day program begins at 9 a.m. Specialists from MU, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will present topics related to riparian buffer design and function, Walter said.
"Designing a riparian buffer doesn't have to be real complicated, but there are things a landowner can do to make the buffer more effective in conjunction with the adjacent land use," he said.
"For example, a crop producer may choose to square off a field next to meandering stream, creating pockets for wildlife while making planting and harvesting that field easier," he explained. "A livestock producer may choose to give cattle limited access to a stream on the inside of a bend, rather than the outside, to minimize erosion effects."
Selecting the proper trees, shrubs and grasses for riparian areas is another topic that will be highlighted at the field day. Just as when designing a buffer, land use helps dictate what species are planted, Walter said.
"The species selected for a buffer a landowner intends to hunt may be different than those selected for an area intended for bird-watching," he said. "Landowners must also consider the soils and other site-specific variables, then select appropriate species.
"You don't want to plant trees that aren't flood-tolerant in an area that goes underwater every spring."
The topic of erosion will be addressed, Walter said. Field day participants will tour an eroded stream bank and see firsthand management practices that can be used to slow the process, including the use of rock and willows to stabilize stream banks.
Field day speakers will talk about ways to gain economic return from riparian areas, including timber sales from bottomland forests and sales of decorative woody florals. Information about state and federal cost-share and incentive programs, and how to participate also will be discussed.
Walter added that both private landowners and resource professionals will be attending the field day, providing a landowner "a great opportunity to meet someone who could come to the farm and help develop a plan for your riparian areas."
While there is no cost to attend the field day, which includes lunch and printed materials, pre-registration is required before Oct. 21 as attendance is limited to 40 people. To register, contact Julie Rhoads at (573) 882-3234 or RhoadsJ@missouri.edu, or download a registration form at http://www.centerforagroforestry.org/.
Source: Dusty Walter (573) 884-7991
--Jason L. Jenkins
Senior Information Specialist
Extension & Ag Information
University of Missouri