A recognized riparian buffer, such as trees and shrubs, should be kept unharmed since preventing erosion is easier and less costly than repairing it. Thus, the best care of a recognized buffer is often a hands-off approach. If you would rather have a view of the stream, create a "window" of low growing vegetation that also preserves the buffer and corridor for wildlife.
A lawn mowed to the water's edge can be transformed into a buffer by simply not mowing a distance of ten (10') feet on either side to the bank. Gradually, the planted vegetation will begin to grow. To give your buffer a head start, plant native wildflowers, shrubs, or trees. There are many types of vegetation that are native to western Pennsylvania.
Maintaining a buffer distance of at least ten (10') feet on either side of the stream will protect the vegetation and the species of fish, reptiles, and amphibians.