The riparian zone is the interface between the upland and a water course. This area is heavily influenced by water and how and where it flows and is reflected in the plants, soil characteristics and wildlife that are found there. Riparian areas have a large role in water quality, quantity and biodiversity. They provide eight key functions to: trap and store sediment; build and maintain banks and shorelines; store water; recharge aquifers; filter and buffer water; reduce and dissipate energy; create primary production; and maintain biodiversity by providing habitat for plants, wildlife and fish.
The Riparian Health Assessment is a tool designed to evaluate the selected site. It can provide a foundation to build an action plan and identify priorities. The assessment provides a snapshot in time and to be an effective tool for monitoring should be done on the same riparian area several years apart.