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Buffers: A Cost-Effective Solution to Protect Our Health, Resources and Economy

February 23, 2010

Pennsylvania contains more than 83,000 miles of rivers and streams. These waterways not only provide drinking water, they also play a critical role in the state’s tourism and recreation industry. Maintaining a ‘buffer’ of trees and plants alongside our rivers and streams is a smart, low-cost solution to protect these important natural resources and the communities and businesses that depend on them.

The Campaign for Clean Water is leading the effort to pass legislation and regulations that would require minimum 100-foot forested buffers along all streams and rivers in the state.

Common Sense Solution

Because buffers take advantage of Pennsylvania’s existing natural resources, they deliver significant economic, health and safety benefits with very low investment from taxpayers and businesses. Benefits include:

  • Keeping drinking water safe by filtering pollutants;
  • Reducing the risk of flood damage for homes and businesses;
  • Increasing property values, which in turn increases local tax revenues; and
  • Saving Pennsylvania substantial money on storm water management by using existing natural resources effectively.

With tourism and recreation serving as major drivers of Pennsylvania’s economy, it is critical that we protect the resources these industries depend on. In 2008, Pennsylvania’s tourism industry provided $18 billion in wages to more than 600,000 residents. Fishing activities alone generate $4.7 billion per year in revenue for the state—supplying 43,000 jobs. Buffers are a common-sense, cost-effective solution that will protect the health and livelihood of our communities.

Learn More about Buffers

By supporting 100-foot buffers, we can help improve the health and livelihood of local residents and businesses and save state funds by ensuring that we use our natural resources effectively and efficiently.


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