Branching out along the Brandywine

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The Brandywine Creek and its tributaries are a major source of drinking water for numerous Chester County communities, including Downingtown, Coatesville, and West Chester.

A forest of community volunteers - visible along the Brandywine Creek this month - is expected to help the Brandywine Conservancy meet its ambitious goal of planting 5,000 trees in 2011 to keep the watershed healthy.

 The endeavor, which will begin Saturday at Shaw Bridge Park in East Bradford Township, is part of the Conservancy's five-year reforestation campaign to add 25,000 trees to the watershed by 2013. 

The 1,000 trees destined for Shaw's Bridge Park, 200 S. Creek Rd., West Chester, will be planted starting at 8:30 a.m. by members of East Bradford's Environmental Advisory Council, Green Committee, and Park and Recreation Board's Trails Committee, but additional volunteers would be welcomed. Email Bruce Arnold at for more information.

 On Oct. 22, 1,350 trees will be planted by residents of the Tattersall Golf Community in Exton. An additional 1,500 trees will be planted as a demonstration project on a steep hillside in Chester County. Trees for these plantings were provided by TreeVitalize, a public-private partnership created by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to increase public awareness of the importance of community trees.

  On Oct. 29, residents of the Knolls of Birmingham, near the intersection of  Birmingham Road and New Street in Birmingham Township, will plant more than 600 trees in their common area. This project was financed in part by a Growing Greener Grant provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  

 According to the Conservancy, the Brandywine and its tributaries are a major source of drinking water for numerous Chester County communities, including Downingtown, Coatesville, and West Chester, and provide surface water for commercial, agricultural and industrial uses. Planting trees in strategic locations such as steep slopes and riparian areas (strips of land on either side of a stream) can have an enormously positive effect on water resources. Reforestation enhances water quality, restores natural flows in the Brandywine, improves plant and animal habitat, promotes absorption of rain into the ground,  and reduces storm-water runoff and downstream flooding.  In addition, tree leaves, branches and roots reduce erosion and prevent excess sediment and nutrients from entering streams during storm-water runoff. 

  Since its founding in 1967, the Brandywine Conservancy has promoted water resource protection and management. The Conservancy holds more than 430 conservation easements and has permanently protected more than 44,000 acres in Chester and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania, as well as New Castle County in Delaware.

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