Montgomery Park displays fall beauty with new riparian buffer
MONTGOMERY – Earlier this month a short ceremony was given to celebrate the culmination of a recently established project to beautify the banks that run along the Susquehanna River in the Montgomery Borough Park.
The project was funded in part by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in cooperation with Lycoming County and the Montgomery Borough. Members of the Revitalize Montgomery committee and the Black Hole Watershed were behind the project and procured the funding. Some of the funds were remaining from a previous project for erosion control at the White Deer Golf course. The financing was part of a flood restoration grant.
A riparian buffer was installed that features native plants to reduce erosion and filter runoff. According to Megan Lehman, County Planner, the term “buffer” is used to describe land next to streams containing native grasses, flowers, shrubs and trees that line the stream banks. “They are also called vegetative buffer zones.”
“This is wise land management,” replied Andrew Kirzon from Lititz, PA who was the environmental designer from Land Studies and also participated in the ceremony. “This project is finally done,” said Becky Sanguedolce who owns Riverside Campground that borders the park. “Now maintenance needs done to get rid of the undesirable plants.”
The buffer is located next to the Susquehanna River and features a short walking path with educational signage. “It adds aesthetic values to the borough,” added Lehman before the ribbon cutting ceremony. Studies were done last September and the project started in April 2013 with plantings.
Mayor Andy Onufrak owed much thanks to Sanguedolce who started the whole process with a group who had a vision. Alice Trowbridge from Susquehanna Greenway who helped coordinate the project said, “We’re going through an enlightenment, a rebirth. This buffer zone shows what was once here. This is not just a physical corridor, but a great sound of experiences to enrich our environment. Montgomery Park is one of Lycoming County’s best kept secrets.”
Sanguedolce agreed that this will increase awareness to the benefits of the community and improve water quality.
It was a consensus among the group that people really love flowers in addition to trees and shrubs. Korzon carefully chose flowers and shrubs that would withstand erosion and flooding such as the red cardinal flower. This produces beauty all year long and will come back next year. “This is a method of landscaping if you have a small creek on your property,” Korzon said pointing to the native flowers. “These tall perennials are in bloom right now.”
Most of these flowers will perform well under any conditions. Also planted were milkweed flowers, black-eyed susans, purple asters and yellow tickseed. They grow well, and will start to regenerate themselves and create dense colonies. “This helps with flood control too,” added Korzon during the tour. “As it floods, the grasses will lay over, but the plants are hardy and will recover quickly. These are not tender plants.”
Other plants chosen include willow and dogwood and some verbena species, all of which help stabilize the steep slopes because they develop a strong root system. The branches can be clipped in the winter to make mature plants the following season. A seed mix of coreopsis was also added and Liatris (blazing star) which are drought resistant and combine well with grasses.
The path is easily accessed from Montgomery Park and runs along the river shoreline. Visitors and residents are encouraged to use the park. Picnic tables are available as well as a nearby playground.
The group met last week and members are planning two more projects. They hope to get more funding and continue working with the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership. “This would help us get more volunteers,” said Sanguedolce. Eventually they would like to get a walking path to run along the edges of the borough park and ball field that would lead people to the river front. They would also like to clean up the Heritage part of the park, and need more volunteers in place to do this. Anyone who is interested in serving on the projects can contact the Montgomery Borough office. There are 8 more trees to plant and two ‘Service Berry’ shrubs which will possibly be placed along the River front according to Sanguedolce. A local resident donated 300 hyacinth bulbs that also need planted, some of which will be placed in part of the cemetery where George Washington’s body guard is buried. Daffodils were also recommended for the heritage park. “We have a two year vision plan,” concluded Sanguedolce.