Riparian buffers are strips of vegetation planted along a stream edge to stabilize the bank and reduce erosion of the soil into the stream. Riparian buffers improve the overall water quality of the stream, and add structure. They also act as an intermediate zone where nutrients and sediment are removed from runoff from adjacent land and are prevented from entering the stream.
Buffers can be affective in both urban and agricultural settings. There are usually three buffer zones where trees, shrubs, and grass are used. Trees provide everything from stabilization of the stream bank to improving the aquatic habitat. Shrubs are used to stabilize the stream bank and protect against flooding. Grasses are often used to filter sediment and provide better wildlife habitat for field animals. Urban buffers are used in many communities that border a river or waterway. Urban buffers help to protect preventing stream bank erosion. They also help improve stream quality by filtering out harmful nutrients and toxins found in urban runoff as well as providing an increase in shade, which lowers the water temperature and improves wildlife habitat. Agricultural buffers also help to prevent and control soil bank erosion and filter run off, but also provide important wild life benefits such as food plots and travel corridors. Also the runoff from farmers’ fields is filtered by the roots and the toxins are deterred from entering the stream.
There are programs available to assist land owners in implementing Riparian buffers. For more information please contact us at: (607)-756-5991