A freshly planted forest buffer as part of the Photo courtesy Ryan Davis.

Riparian Rangers Resources

Volunteer Resources

If you are currently volunteering as a Riparian Ranger, thank you so much for your hard work! Use the resources below to further support your volunteering.

Please fill out the Reporting Form after each site visit. If you have any questions, please email riparianrangers@allianceforthebay.org if you are in Pennsylvania and riparianrangers.md@allianceforthebay.org if you are in Maryland.

Reporting Forms

Please complete a reporting form after each site visit.

Training Video

This video provides an overview of the program and how a Riparian Ranger should properly complete their monitoring and tending tasks. See the timestamps below to jump to different sections of the training video as needed.


Riparian Rangers Newsletter

Sign up for our Riparian Rangers Newsletter to receive more resources, updates, and training information. Complete the form below to put your email on our list!

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Riparian Rangers Packet

Designed to set volunteers up for success, the Riparian Rangers packet contains all you need to know about how to successfully monitor your site. From contact information to invasive plant identification, use this packet as an ongoing resource to ensure proper tending of your site.

Download Packet

Landowner Outreach Pamphlet

Riparian Rangers can use this pamphlet to give to the landowner of the site they are monitoring and tending. The pamphlet explains the program, what to expect from Riparian Rangers, and provides a spot to include the Riparian Ranger’s contact information.

Download Pamphlet

What to Look For

When visiting your site, there are a lot of potential damages/hazards to look out for and fix.

These photos cover tree plantings on parks, residential properties, and farms that are receiving the appropriate mowing and herbicide applications; sites should be mowed and sprayed twice over the growing season.

These photos cover tree plantings on parks, residential properties, and farms that are not receiving the appropriate mowing and herbicide applications; the extensive vegetation surrounding the tree shelters makes it hard to access the site and allows the spread of invasive species and vole herbivory.

Most sites (unless they are mowed as a lawn or the landowner prefers organic vegetation control) should have a 2-3-foot radius herbicide ring around each tree shelter. This helps to prevent vole herbivory as there is minimal cover for the voles to hide in and also reduces competition from surrounding vegetation.

Bird nets help to prevent birds from falling into the tree shelters; however, they must be removed before the trees grow out of the shelters and get tangled in them. These photos show bird nets that are ready to be removed and damage that can occur when the nets are not removed at the proper time.

Tree shelters prevent deer from damaging the young trees but they must be removed so that the shelters don’t damage trees in the long term. Shelters can be removed once the base of the tree trunk is almost pressing against the tree shelter; this can take between 3-10 years depending on the growth conditions and tree species.

Livestock are not permitted within tree planting areas as they break stakes, flatten tree shelters, and damage the young trees. Cow damage should be reported immediately so that the cows can be properly removed from the tree planting area.

Most riparian forest buffer plantings will experience flood damage which can break stakes and flatten tree shelters. If the tree shelters are straightened quickly, the trees are generally not damaged.

Voles like to eat the roots of the young trees. Evidence of vole herbivory may indicate that the vegetative management needs to be improved or changed at that site.

Poison hemlock, Japanese hops, Japanese knotweed, multiflora rose, and many other invasive species can take over tree planting sites. Proper identification and management of these species is crucial when establishing new forests.


Reach out to Rebecca Lauver at rlauver@allianceforthebay.org

Contact Rebecca