•Artificial stream widening and straightening•Road and building construction close tostreams•Replacement of wooded or grassy areas withroads, houses, and parking lots resulting inincreased runoff into streams•Unrestricted grazing or loitering of livestockin or near streams•Crop production activities including plowing,planting, and fertilizer, manure, and pesticideapplications close to streamsThis publication is designed to assist farm-ers, ranchers, watershed managers, homeowners,and community members in understanding theimportance of riparian areas and guide them inimplementing land management practices to im-prove riparian health. Tables included providetools to monitor the conditions of riparian areasduring land restoration processes.
Attached appendices provide detailed infor-mation on subjects addressed in this publi-cation.
Upland LUpland LUpland LUpland LUpland Land and and and and Management and Management and Management and Management and Management and Riparian Health Riparian Health Riparian Health Riparian Health Riparian Health
Water flows from upland areas through ri-parian areas and eventually into streams.Healthy riparian areas are able to absorb, hold,and use much of the water that flows off fromhealthy upland areas. Healthy riparian areasare also able to chemically and biologically bindor detoxify many contaminants contained inthis water. However, if upland areas are de-graded or covered with roads, parking lots, androoftops that do not allow the water to seep intothe soil, even the healthiest riparian area willbe unable to absorb and filter large volumes ofwater, nutrients, and contaminants flowingthrough it. Therefore, the first step in riparianprotection is ensuring that land managementpractices across the watershed conserve soil andwater resources.Water moves across the landscape in twoways: as groundwater flow and as runoff.
flow is water that hassoaked into the soil and travels undergroundthrough pores in the soil.
is water thatmoves over the surface of the soil. Whengroundwater or runoff water moves, it absorbsnutrients or contaminants and transports theminto riparian areas and potentially into streams.Runoff water can also transport eroded soil par-ticles.
Groundwater flow Groundwater flow Groundwater flow Groundwater flow Groundwater flow
In most undisturbedwatersheds, a majority of the water flows intoriparian areas and streams as groundwaterrather than as runoff. As rain falls or snowmelts, leaves and other plant residues on the soilsurface catch this water. Pores created by grow-ing plants, decaying plant roots, and animalburrows help the water seep into the soil (Cohen,1997).Once it seeps into the soil, the resultinggroundwater moves relatively slowly under-ground through soil particles until it reaches ri-parian areas and associated streams.
Runoff Runoff Runoff Runoff Runoff
is favored when rain falls faster thanthe ground can absorb it. Water cannot be effec-tively absorbed when soils:•Are compacted at the surface•Are bare, so that the impact of rain drops onthe soil forms a surface crust
Plants in riparian areas filter ground and surface water moving into streams.
Above ground vegetationtraps sediment andpollutantsFertilizer andpesticide residueFloodwater levelStreamwater levelRunoff reachesstream carrying littlesediment, pesticideand fertilizer residue,making it healthier for plant andanimallifeResidue fromfertilizer andpesticides aretrapped byroot systems
Healthy streambank vegetation