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The land that borders a stream is known as a riparian area, it plays a vital role in the health of streams and rivers. The trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers that make up the riparian area serve as pollutant filters, bank stabilizers, habitat providers, wildlife highways and water coolers. When we make changes to the riparian area it can have a negative impact on the stream and wildlife.

Benefits of a Healthy Riparian Zone:

  • It can act as a shield for protecting against the elements impact on your property.
  • It can dissipate Stream Energy along banks by slowing water velocities, especially during flood events.
  • It can be engineered for soil stabilization.
    • Reducing sedimentation into the river/stream.
  • It can act as a bio-filter and reduces impacts of polluted surface runoff.
    • Ex: Agrichemicals from cropland or weed killers and fertilizers from home sites.
    • Excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from farm and livestock operations.
  • It can provide crucial wildlife (Birds, deer, fish, bugs, etc…)
    • Supply food and shelter for aquatic and terrestrial animals.
  • It can provide shading for the riverbank and can help to keep water temperatures down.
  • It can generally improve water quality.
  • It can certainly reduce the need to consider more aggressive and costly bank protection measures that provide few of the above benefits for the river.

Even North Carolina knows the Importance of a Riparian Buffer

Bad Buffers

  • Have minimal wildlife habitat value
  • Do not protect water quality
  • Cause warm and fluctuating water temperatures
  • Offer no food or cover to aquatic animals
  • Lead to erosion, sloughing and sedimentation

Good Buffers

  • Provide good wildlife habitat
  • Protect water quality
  • Moderate water temperatures
  • Provide food and cover for aquatic animals
  • Help streambanks resist erosion
bare bank
Healthy

Lesson 1

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Lesson 3

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Lesson 4

Lesson 5

Lesson 5

Lesson 6

Lesson 6

The Nueces River Authority (Texas) have a set of videos that give great information.  Check them out!

Make sure to check to see what, if any, permits you may need.  Potential Permits Required | Living on the Bank

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