Riparian Buffers are the land and vegetated areas adjacent to lakes, streams, rivers and wetlands. Riparian Buffers have complex ecosystems and provide food, lodging, and travel corridors for both aquatic and terrestrial species and serve as the most important link between upland forests and aquatic habitats. Often, these vegetated areas are the last line of defense to protect the water quality of a waterway.
Functions of a Riparian Area
- Adequate vegetation, landform or woody material is present to dissipate stream energy associated with high waterflow, thereby reducing erosion and improving water quality
- Capture sediment and aid floodplain development
- Improve floodwater retention and ground-water recharge
- Develop root masses that stabilize streambanks against erosion
- Maintain channel characteristics