Stormwater Blues
Benefits of Riparian Areas

Sizing Your Buffer
Steps for Riparian Planting

Special Considerations
Buffers- Not a Cure-All

| Soil | Lawn Care | Turf Alternatives | Top Secret Agents
Passive Aggressive Plants | Top 10 Un-Wanted Pests | Lakescaping

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 >>

Lake Whatcom Cooperative Management WSU Whatcom County Whatcom Coundy IPM

For more information, contact Scarlet Tang or Todd Murray
WSU Cooperative Extension (360) 676-6736

Any reproduction of photographic images on any portion of this website, including but not limited to the retention and/or storage in a retrieval system of any kind is strictly prohibited without prior express permission