Vicky Lentz, Interviewed by Emily Koehler-Platten, November 20, 2014
Location of Interview: SUNY Oneonta, Oneonta, New York
Dr. Vicky Lentz was born in 1957, and grew up in Indiana. She studied biology and earned her PhD in immunology. She is an Assistant Professor of Biology at the State University of New York at Oneonta, and has lived in Otsego County, New York, since 2001. Dr. Lentz cares about the environment, and works on projects with the Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA). In this story, she is talking about one of those projects, which involved planting trees at the edge of rivers and streams to keep soil from eroding into the water.
VL: One of the projects that we have been involved in for a number of years is replanting trees along the edges of rivers and streams. That is what riparian is, is the buffer edge. And there was a project, oh my, a mile from my house on Butternut Creek. And I’ve also been involved with the Butternut Valley Alliance, which is a group of people that live around Butternut Creek. So we went out on a Sunday morning and we dug holes and we put in the trees and we put in stakes and tubes so the deer wouldn’t eat them. And it was kind of chilly and misty and a really yucky day, but we all had so much fun, we didn’t care. It stabilizes the creek banks.
This one particular location, the creek is a very windy creek because there is silty soil in the valley. And so when we’ve been getting these really big floods, the water just whips around these curves and when they do they just carve out another big huge chunk of the creek bank and all of that sediment ends up going down the Susquehanna River. And that is not good for the Chesapeake Bay and the oysters and, you know, things we do up here affect them down there. And so if you plant the trees there, that helps hold the soil against, and prevents erosion. So that’s why we try to do that. We did it on the one side of the creek and shortly after that the farmer on the other side of the road, the other side of the bridge, asked if they could come do his. So, it spreads.