Stream Buffers

Streamside buffer

Water Quality Vegetation Buffers

A water quality buffer zone is a strip of undisturbed native vegetation, either original or re-established, that borders streams and rivers, ponds, lakes and wetlands. Water quality buffer zones are most effective when storm water runoff is flowing into and through them as shallow sheet flow, rather than in concentrated form such as in channels, gullies, splays, or wet weather conveyances. It's critical that the design of any development include management practices, to the maximum extent practical, that will result in storm water runoff flowing into and through the buffer zone as shallow sheet flow.

Water quality buffer zones protect the physical and ecological integrity of water bodies from surrounding upland activities in these ways: 

▪ Filtering excess amounts of sediment, organic material, nutrients, and other chemicals;

▪ Reducing storm runoff velocities;

▪ Providing flood protection;

▪ Protecting channel bank areas from scour and erosion;

▪ Providing shade for cooling adjacent water; which allows waters to hold a greater level of dissolved oxygen;

▪ Providing leaf litter and large woody debris important to aquatic organisms; and

▪ Improving stream bank habitat for aquatic organisms

Buffer Zone Restrictions

Management of the water quality buffer zone includes specific limitations on alteration of the natural conditions. The following practices and activities are restricted within the water quality buffer zone, except with prior approval by the City of Spring Hill Storm Water Coordinator

  • Clearing or grubbing of existing vegetation
  • Clear cutting of vegetation or trees
  • Soil disturbance by grading, stripping or other practices
  • Filling or dumping
  • Use, storage, or application of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers
  • Conversion of existing established vegetation from majority native to majority exotic species