Select Page

These processes work together to decrease the volume and impact of stormwater runoff that reaches local streams and rivers. Decreasing stormwater runoff can improve water quality, as well as prevent erosion and flooding downstream.

Additional Benefits

  • Provide shade, color, and habitat for wildlife
  • Save money! Wooded habitats can reduce mowing and fertilizer expenses, as well as increase property value and reduce energy usage

What can you do?

Tree and Woodland Preservation

  • Native and Invasive Species
  • Wildlife Habitat

Best Management Practices

  • Incorporate trees into traditional bioretention techniques
  • Incorporate trees into paved, urban streetscapes

Residential Property

  • Increase property value with large trees in yards and along street
  • Increase property value with nearby parks and greenspaces
  • Reduce air conditioning expenses with tree shade

Commercial Property

  • Increase rental rates for commercial office buildings
  • Increase time consumers will shop in a business district
  • Increase distance consumers will travel to shopping districts

Plant Native!

Native plants save time and money because they are adapted to the local environment. Compared to non-native species, they require less water and less fertilizer, and provide natural wildlife habitat.

There are many plants native to Ohio, including the following examples. More comprehensive native plant listings can be found at the resources below.

  • Deciduous (leaf-dropping) trees including maple, buckeye, paw paw, birch, hickory, redbud, dogwood, and oak
  • Evergreen trees including cedar and pine

Additional Resources for Native Plants:


Remove Invasive

Invasive species are those that are not native to the region, and whose presence harms the environment.

Common invasive species in Ohio include the Callery pear, tree of heaven, autumn olive, and more.Many of these invasives can be replaced with beneficial native species.

Additional Resources for Invasive Plants:

A wildlife corridor is a zone of forest habitat that connects two wildlife areas that were previously isolated. This corridor provides a safe way for wildlife to travel between forest habitats.

The forest edge habitat is where many species find food and shelter. Widening this zone can increase the food supply and create more spaces for shelter. Learn more about forest edge habitat on the next page.

Technical Guidance

The buffer habitat should be at lease 30 feet wide, and as long as possible. A good rule of thumb is at least 5 plant species to provide a complex ecosystem.  A wide buffer is ideal for wildlife seeking shelter.

Buffer habitat can be created through the following 3 methods:

  • Natural regeneration: Allow the natural encroachment of vegetation into existing open edges. This method requires the least amount of time and labor. Plants will naturally establish themselves from seeds that are dormant in the soil or that are transported from nearby vegetation.
  • Planting:
    • Plant small trees adjacent to the forest. Typically, rows of trees are planted 10’ apart with 10’ between trees.
    • Plant shrubs and herbaceous vegetation as a transition toward the field. Shrubs are planted in rows 4’ to 6’ apart with 4’ to 6’ between each shrub, depending on the size of the shrub.
    • Consider adding a 10’ to 20’ wide strip of herbaceous grasses and / or legumes adjacent to the field to increase food and widen the transitional zone.
  • Manipulation: Consult a certified forester about whether the habitat would benefit by thinning trees on the edge of the forest to stimulate the growth of shrubs and herbaceous vegetation. Do not cut trees in the summer when bats are raising their young.

Additional Resources:

Forested Filter Strips: A filter strip is typically a strip of unmowed grass positioned to catch stormwater as it flows off hard surfaces. Incorporating trees into the filter strip lets the water soak into the ground better, and lets the trees release water into the air via transpiration.

Constructed Wooded Wetlands: A stormwater wetland filters and temporarily stores stormwater runoff. Adding trees and shrubs to the wetland improves its filtration and provides shade and bank stabilization.

Wooded Dry Detention Ponds: A dry detention pond is typically a grassy basin that fills with stormwater during a storm, but is not permanently wet. Incorporating trees into the dry pond area is attractive and can improve infiltration of water into the ground.

Additional Resources:

A major problem in the urban landscape is the compaction of soil, which keeps water from soaking into the ground.

These BMPs are designed to promote tree growth near paved surfaces. For planning, design, and further information about BMPs, see the resources below.

  • Tree boxes and tree trenches: Boxes filled with soil and usually planted with a native tree or shrub, which encourages stormwater infiltration and filtration.
  • Structural cells and suspended pavement: Structural cells support the pavement above the soil, which keeps the soil from becoming compacted. Compaction limits root growth and encourages runoff. These techniques give roots room to grow, which encourages big and healthy trees.
  • Structural soils: This soil is engineered with specific media that can be compacted but maintains enough pore space to allow root growth.



  • Anderson, L.M. and H.K. Cordell. 1988. Influence of trees on residential property values in Athens, Georgia (U.S.A.): A survey based on actual sale prices. Landscape and Urban Planning. 15:153-164
  • Boggs, J.L. and G. Sun. 2011. Urbanization alters watershed hydrology in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Ecohydrology. 4:256-264
  • Brittingham, M.C. 1998. Management Practices for Enhancing Wildlife Habitat. PennStateExtension. Code UH107.
  • Cappiella, K., T. Schueler, and T. Wright. 2006. Urban Watershed Forestry Manual: Part 2 Conserving and Planting Trees at Development Sites. US Department of Agriculture Forest Service Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry. NA-TP-01-06.
  • CWP and USFS (Center for Watershed Protection and US Forest Service). 2008. Watershed Forestry Resource Guide. Center for Watershed Protection and US Forest Service Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  • Donovan, G.H. and D.T. Butry. 2010. Trees in the city: Valuing street trees in Portland, Oregon. Landscape and Urban Planning. 94:77-83.
  • EPA. 2004. The Use of Best Management Practices (BMPs) in Urban Watersheds. National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP). EPA/600/R-04/184.
  • EPA. 2013. Stormwater to Street Trees: Engineering Urban Forests for Stormwater Management. National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP). EPA 841 B 13 001.
  • EPA. 2016. Stormwater Trees: Technical Memorandum. Tetra Tech, Inc. EP-BPA-13-R5-0001.
  • Indiana Division of Forestry. 2004. Woodland Edge Enhancement. Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  • Keim, R.F. and A.E. Skaugset. 2003. Modelling effects of forest canopies on slope stability. Hydrological Processes. 17:1457-1467.
  • Laverne, R.J. and K. Winson-Geideman. 2003. The Influence of Trees and Landscaping on Rental Rates at Office Buildings. Journal of Arboriculture. 29(5): 281-290.
  • Livesley, S.J., B. Baudinette, and D. Glover. 2014. Rainfall interception and stem flow by eucalypt street trees – The impacts of canopy density and bark type. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 13:192-197.
  • MPCA (Minnesota Pollutant Control Agency). 2017. Stormwater Manual Wiki. Retrieved April 1, 2017. <>
  • NRCS. Forest Edge Helps Wildlife Gradually. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  • NRCS. Shrub Borders Give the Edge to Wildlife. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  • Rodewald, P.G. and M.C. Brittingham. 2004. Stopover habitats of landbirds during fall: use of edge-dominated and early-successional forests. Auk. 121:1040-1055.
  • Sargent, M.S. and K.S. Carter. 1999. Managing Michigan Wildlife: A Landowners GuideMichigan United Conservation Clubs, East Lansing, MI. 297.
  • Stormwater Center. N.d. Stormwater Management Fact Sheet: Dry Extended Detention Pond. Center for Watershed Protection. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  • VDOF (Virginia Department of Forestry). Establishing Field Borders to Improve Wildlife Habitat. Virginia Department of Forestry. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  • Wolf, K.L. 2005. Business District Streetscapes, Trees, and Consumer Response. Journal of Forestry. 396-400.
  • Wolf, K.L. 2007. City Trees and Property Values. Arborist News. 16:34-36..
  • Zadeh, M.K. and A.R. Sepaskhah. 2016. Effect of tree roots on water infiltration rate into the soil. Iran Agricultural Research. 35(1):13-20.
  • Xiao, Q., E.G. McPherson, S.L. Ustin, and M.E. Grismer. 2000. A new approach to modeling tree rainfall interception. Journal of Geophysical Research. 105:29,173-29,188