Growing partnerships and sharing knowledge is at the heart of the Upper & Middle James Riparian Consortium! On September 13, members gathered at Virginia Tech’s Catawba Sustainability Center (Center) for a mini-research symposium to share different approaches to establishing riparian forest buffers (aka streamside forests). Thank to Dialogue + Design Associates for facilitating the day!

The afternoon was spent walking the property and hearing from a variety of voices to share lessons learned and find common themes to inform future research:

  • Adam Taylor, Katie Trozzo, and John Munsell shared research being done at the Center on vented versus unvented tree shelters, their approach to establishing riparian buffers on the property.
  • Lucas Tyree of the Monacan Nation and NDPonics shared Traditional Ecological Knowledge approaches to riparian forest management with a longer timespan in mind and with an ecosystem approach. 
  • David Wise with the Stroud Water Research Center shared Strouds research into stone mulching alternatives, varying tree protection strategies, and the big questions they are tackling around buffers. 
  • Lowrie Tucker and Rodney Nice with Conservation Services, Inc. shared some successes and failures they’ve seen in buffer establishment and shared some questions they are chewing on.

A few hardy souls ended the day with a beautiful hike along the Catawba Greenway! Check it out if you are in the area. 

For more information about the James Riparian Consortium visit or contact Amber Ellis, Restoration Director with the James River Association and convener of the Consortium.