Sunday, April 8, 2012

Buffer Landscaping at Smith Mountain Lake

Preserve the Lake, Provide Wildlife Habitat, Protect Your Investment
Buffer Landscaping – Slowing and Filtering the Flow
Jim Pilversack, Janet and Dick Hill
By Jim Pilversack

The Buffer Landscape Project is a collaborative effort with the Smith Mountain Lake Association, Virginia Master Naturalist Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes chapter and the Franklin County Master Gardeners chapter.  The goal of the project is to increase the number of properties on the lake that have landscaping that will slow and filter the flow of water moving toward Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.  Since 2009, the volunteers on this project have developed a plant list, written and published a Guide to Buffer Landscaping on the SMLA website, and spoken to over 500 community members about putting buffer landscaping on lakefront property.
Hill’s “Frame the View’ sculpted buffer
Luce’s mature natural buffer
Shoudel starter buffer
Over the last six months, a Buffer Landscape Advisory Service Team (BLAST) has been established with trained volunteers who help property owners that want to start or expand buffer landscaping on their property.  A team of volunteers will respond by visiting the property and advising the owners on the options they might consider to slow and filter the flow of water across the property.  This service is requested through the SMLA office, website or e-mail.  (Phone: 540 719-0690,, or

Most recently, a recognition program has been initiated to recognize properties that have buffer landscaping.  The first five properties have been indentified and certificates of recognition have been awarded.  The program is designed not as a contest but as a way to recognize many different examples of environmentally responsible landscaping. We are looking for examples of buffers that other property owners can use to get ideas for their own landscaping.  Later this year we will be creating a ‘boat tour’ guide with the GPS locations of properties that have been recognized as good examples.  Contact SMLA to nominate a good example of buffer landscaping

Over twenty volunteers have been involved in this project since its inception, contributing well over 1000 hours.  This is a long-term project that will continue for many years.  
Robert & Nancy Luce, Jim Pilversack
Denise Pilversack, John & Diane Shoudel, Bob Camicia

We are always looking to add volunteers to lead and participate in the ongoing activities.  If you are interested in participating, please contact the project chair, Jim Pilversack at
Preserve, Provide and Protect

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