Promoting Healthy Riparian Areas
The riparian zone—an area of lush, green, moisture-loving vegetation surrounding wetlands, lakes, streams, and rivers—is an area heavily influenced by water quality, flow rates, and flow direction. You can tell a lot about the health of a riparian zone by the the plants, soil, and wildlife living in an around it.
Riparian areas have an important role to play in water quality and 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.
Riparian Health Assessment Tool
The Riparian Health Assessment (RHA) tool evaluates the health of riparian sites. The tool provides a snapshot in time of the health of a area as well as acts as an effective monitoring tool.
It's recommended RHAs be repeated every few years.