Resource Protection Area (RPA) Buffers
What can you do with the vegetation in your riparian buffer?
Call your local planning/public works department before beginning any activity in your RPA buffer. It is easier and less expensive to leave existing buffers than to plant new ones.
To find your local contact CLICK HERE.
Subject to local government approval, vegetation may be removed from the 100-foot RPA buffer for the following reasons:
- To provide reasonable water views, provided that any vegetation removed is replaced with vegetation that provides equivalent water protection quality, typically woody shrubs and groundcover.
- To create a water access path, as long as it is constructed in a way that does not cause erosion. An example would be a 3'-wide mulched path.
- To remove dead, dying, or diseased trees and shrubs or noxious weeds (such as the invasive, alien weeds: Johnson grass, kudzu or multiflora rose) pursuant to sound horticultural practices.
- To provide for shoreline erosion control, according to the best available technical advice, provided that any vegetaion removed is replaced with native, woody vegetation.
A filtered view through existing vegetation is an appropriate buffer modification. Woody vegetation (trees, shrubs and ground cover) protects the shoreline and water quality.
What can't you do in the riparian buffer?
- Development is not permitted if there is sufficient buildable area outside the 100-foot buffer OR if the property was subdivided after the local governmant adopted its local Bay Act program (generally 1989-1991).
- Accessory structures like sheds, gazebos, pools, or detached garages may not be located within the 100-foot buffer.
- Clear-cutting of vegetation is not permitted.
- Filling or grading land within the buffer is not allowed.
- Applying pesticides and fertilizer is discouraged.
Filling and grading are not allowed in the RPA buffer!