The importance of riparian areas essay

How to protect riparian areas

In the eastern states, water rights are afforded to those landowners adjacent to a water body riparian doctrine. The initial effect of inundation on plants is through the root system. Streams that were once lined with willows or other riparian species may now only be lined with limited grass or sedges that are not capable of stabilizing stream banks. Pollution from automobiles, industries, household chemicals, fertilizers and sewage threatens riparian areas. Consequently, there are areas in Wyoming where a functional, healthy riparian zone no longer exists. Rivers vary in catchment geochemistry, hydrology, topography, climate, and vegetation development. Recently, the needs of natural systems have been addressed in some cases by preserving minimum stream flows. I will also explain how much we gain just by going through life, which in itself is an education Because of these uncertain metrics, and because many restoration programs are relatively new, it is difficult to know whether the federal, state, and local programs have been or will be effective in restoring structure and functioning to riparian areas on privately owned land. This situation has been exacerbated by a reduction in flood flows caused by dams and by the lowering of water tables caused by water withdrawal. The Total Maximum Daily Load TMDL Program stemming from the Clean Water Act is expected to have a significant impact on riparian areas because many of the TMDL implementation plans being developed call for restoration of riparian areas as a required management measure to achieve needed reductions in nonpoint source pollution. Relating to water quality, the ecological benefits of riparian areas are numerous. In arid and semi-arid climates, such as Wyoming, riparian areas can usually be clearly distinguished as the green areas adjacent to streams, rivers, and lakes. For the regulatory and nonregulatory approaches used by the states to address protection of privately owned riparian areas, a significant limitation is that their success is measured by the number of practices implemented and rarely by actual environmental improvements.

The Aral Sea is now saltier than the ocean Stone Nonetheless, if further refined, these tools can be instrumental in prioritizing restoration activities and in more efficiently allocating resources toward restoration projects.

The vegetation that grows in riparian zones is specially adapted to wet soil conditions, and can tolerate periodic flooding. Such an approach is not specific to riparian areas, nor does it require their protection, but it does ensure attention to their environmental values if they would be potentially affected by a proposed federal action.

New riparian zones Impounded areas eventually develop new shorelines within the range of regulated water-level fluctuations. Few, if any, federal statutes refer expressly to riparian area values and as a consequence generally do not require or ensure protection of riparian areas.

Why are riparian zones important

Many upland species are normally excluded from growing in and near free-flowing river channels because of intolerance to sedimentation, erosion, submersion, physical damage, and low soil fertility Johnson However, many of the benefits derived from functional riparian areas also cross into the public domain. The waterlogged soil becomes anoxic and this leads to oxygen stress and eventual elimination of the primary root system. Interest seems to be growing in the use of conservation easements and other incentives to induce landowners to hold riparian areas as buffers, natural areas, or open space, as well as in the purchase of riparian lands for greenways or wildlife areas. At a minimum, agencies should assess the condition of riparian areas, develop and implement restoration plans where necessary, exclude incompatible uses, and manage other uses to ensure their compatibility with riparian area protection. Some species may disappear when regulation by dams changes the geomorphology. Restoration refers to the process of repairing the condition and functioning of degraded riparian areas. In some instances, the core issue is the extent to which restrictions can be placed on traditional activities on private lands now understood to result in significant ecological damage. Trees such as western red cedar, black cottonwood and red alder, which can grow some distance back from water bodies, but require moist soils. Ecological restoration in particular has the stated goal of regaining predisturbance characteristics.

Nevertheless, they are here. Vegetation in the previously grazed area would likely recover relatively quickly if most of the native plants were present. A national program to map riparian areas should incorporate broadly available remotely sensed data, such as satellite multispectral data, which could be used to classify and map land cover and land use information in each of the states.

I will also explain how much we gain just by going through life, which in itself is an education From tonone of the area was grazed.

Riparian zone diagram

Why should non-scientists study biology, chemistry or environmental science. The idea that traditional liberal arts education at college level gives broad knowledge aims at broadening the mind Future needs and directions It may be difficult to insert new knowledge about the effects of hydrological alterations on riparian ecology into the policymaking process Rosenberg et al. Riparian areas are popular sites for recreational activities that can introduce sediment, nutrients, bacteria, petrochemicals, pesticides, and refuse to adjacent water bodies. Watershed councils, state and federal agencies, and other groups are often of major assistance in developing basinwide perspectives that are useful to various landowners and land managers as they engage in riparian improvement and restoration across a given drainage basin. The degradation of such vegetation and the collapse or removal of river banks has a profound wide spread and long term effect on the riverine environment Zainudin et al. Some inundated areas were cleared of woody vegetation before damming but in many cases, especially in old dam construction projects, land was inundated together with its existing vegetation. Advanced Search An estimated two-thirds of the fresh water flowing to the oceans is obstructed by approximately 40, large dams defined as more than 15 m in height and more than , smaller ones Petts , McCully Riparian zones are important transition areas that connect the water with the land, and support a wide diversity of plant and animal life. We thank Rebecca Chasan, Robert J.

Riparian areas are particularly sensitive to variation in the hydrological cycle and serve as good indicators of the environmental change that is caused by dam operations. Land development continues today under a policy climate that often encourages alteration of natural systems.

Riparian areas also provided transportation corridors for travel by boat, and were often the only flat land areas suitable for building roads, farms and cities.

how to improve riparian zones
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Why are Riparian Areas Important?