How Riparian Buffers Work to Save Your Local Waterway - FactzPedia

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How Riparian Buffers Work to Save Your Local Waterway

How Riparian Buffers Work to Save Your Local Waterway


But did you know that some rivers, streams and creeks also need a feature called a riparian buffer? Even if you've never heard the term before, you've most likely seen one. Let's talk about exactly what riparian buffers are and why they're so important to protecting the environment.

Filtering nutrients, pesticides and animal waste from agricultural land runoff
Stabilizing eroding banks
Filtering sediment from runoff
Shading, sheltering and feeding fish and other aquatic organisms
Providing wildlife habitat and corridors for terrestrial organisms
Protecting cropland and downstream communities from flood damage
Producing income from farmland that is frequently flooded or has poor yields
Diversifying landowner income
Creating recreational spaces

Today, however, many of the buffers must be re-created by hand — riparian buffers. Each region of the United States implements its buffers according to geography, land use and conservation priorities. In the East, buffers are often used to decrease sediments flowing into streams and estuaries, while in the Midwest, they're generally used to stabilize stream banks, reduce pollutant runoff and restore habitat for fish and wildlife in heavily cultivated terrains.

In the Northwest, buffers are used primarily to restore and protect migratory fish habitat. In the Southwest, most buffers are created to improve habitat for at-risk marine and land species.

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