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Consider vegetation your first line of defense against erosion and flooding. Robust riparian (river-adjacent) vegetation absorbs and slows flood flows and stabilizes banks by holding the soil in place. A healthy buffer of native plants between the river and your house will offer protection from erosion far cheaper than conventional bank armor, and provides essential functions needed to maintain a healthy river ecosystem. A vegetation buffer also provides water quality benefits by intercepting and degrading pollutants in run-off, such as fertilizer from gardens and lawns.


  • For the safety of your investment, maintain a robust buffer zone of native vegetation between any structure and the river.
  • Removing riverbank vegetation to improve the view and access requires a 310 permit and greatly increases the risk of property damage from erosion and flooding. Is it worth it?
  • Lawns provide almost no protection. Avoid building your lawn to the river’s edge.
Notice that the brushy area is higher (less eroded) than the bare area to the left.

This landowner applied for a 310 permit to remove the brush on the upper bank. However, with a house located this close to the river, the thick shrubs are essential to protect the property from erosion. Removing this brush would very likely require the installation of Rip Rap at great cost to the landowner and to the detriment of river health.

The vegetation along this riverbank will provide stability, reduce flooding, and maintain river health.
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