Large Wood Debris

The Problem

Trees that grow along a streamside can often fall into a watercourse due to floods, erosion, windthrow, disease, beaver activity, or natural mortality.  These materials, often referred to as Large Woody Debris (LWD), can include whole trees with a rootwad and limbs attached or portions of tress with or without rootwads or limbs.  Landowners, municipal public works crews, and others often remove LWD as part of a flood cleanup, erosion control, or stream improvement project.

LWD removal should only be considered when there is compelling evidence that it is causing flooding of private/public infrastructure, significant streambank erosion, or is a navigational hazard.  A permit from DEP may be required for LWD removal.  Where LWD absolutely has to be cut, wood can be floated, repositioned and anchored to the shoreline, so its ecological benefits are not lost.

The Solution

The York County Conservation District’s Large Woody Debris Program offers financial and technical assistance to private/public landowners and managers for the purpose of LWD management/removal and to address streambank and channel erosion, through local watershed-based planning, restoration, and protection efforts.  Assistance is available on a first come, first serve basis, as long as time and resources allow.

Priority activities for which the Conservation District seeks proposals, in decreasing order of importance, includes:

  1. Projects that reduce pollutant loads and result in measurable water quality enhancements in watersheds where streams are known to be impaired.
  2. Projects that result in measurable environmental and water quality enhancements intended to help meet the goals of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL.
  3. Projects that protect EV and High Quality Cold Water Fisheries and other pristine streams.

Resources

For more information about Large Woody Debris assistance, contact Gary R. Peacock, Watershed Specialist, at 717-840-7687 or e-mail gpeacock@yorkccd.org.