Stream Buffers

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What is a Stream Buffer?


A stream buffer is the area around a stream on either side. This area helps filter out pollutants and provides habitat for plants and animals that rely on the stream.

What can I do to protect the buffer?


In Athens stream buffers are protected for 75 feet on both sides of the stream bank. Click on the picture to the right to learn what things you are allowed to do in the buffer.

If you have a stream or tributary in your back yard you can help protect it by doing several things.

  • Don't mow right up to the water's edge. Leave a section along the water where the grass, shrubs and trees can grow freely.
  • Don't cut down trees near the water. The tree roots hold the bank in place, prevent erosion and they provide shade to the water to keep it from heating up in the sun.
  • Don't apply fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides in the buffer. They are very likely to end up in the water, if not immediately then with the next rain!
All of these things will help protect stream health to support plant and animal life and preserve the quality of water so that we can efficiently continue to use our waterways as a source of drinking water!

What if I need to do work in the buffer?
Athens-Clarke County Planning Department at 706-613-3515, you may need a permit.

Want to get involved in preserving our stream health? Check out some other ways to Get Involved!

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