More than meets the
eye - the benefits of riparian areas
Riparian areas play an essential role in the survival of many plant and
animal species, providing food and shelter. Because they can filter and
absorb stormwater, healthy riparian zones also provide numerous benefits
to shoreline landowners. The roots of woody vegetation, such as trees
and shrubs, keep the soil of your shoreline property from washing away,
or eroding. If the soil resists erosion, your property stands a better
chance of staying intact. When woody vegetation is cleared to make way
for lawn, the old roots may continue to stabilize the soil for a while,
but they will inevitably decompose and your bank may fail. Besides holding
soil in place, a dense growth of healthy roots may slow down any runoff
moving through a riparian area.
Vegetated surfaces allow water to infiltrate instead of running off. Think
of pouring water on a sponge versus a piece of plastic. Riparian vegetation
slows the flow of stormwater, reducing erosion and flooding. Also, as
the runoff slows and passes through the soil, the plants will trap pollutants
such as sediments that can clog fish spawning beds, nutrients and pesticides.
A buffer zone also reduces the amount of lawn and garden you have to maintain,
which leaves more leisure time for you.
Stormwater Blues | Right-sizing Your Buffer