What is the Riparian Forrest Buffer?

A riparian forest buffer is an area of trees, usually accompanied by shrubs and other vegetation, along a stream, river, or shoreline that is managed to maintain the integrity of the waterway, to reduce pollution, and to provide food, habitat, and thermal protection for fish and wildlife.

Photo of the path in the forest     Provide clean water. Rain that runs off the land carries pollutants like lawn fertilizers, chemicals, pesticides, and sediments into the waterway. Forest buffers slow and filter nutrients and sediments out of stormwater before they reach the waterway. Also forest stabilize floodplains, reducing erosion.

   Attracts and protects Fish and Wildlife. The cool stream temperatures maintained by riparian trees are essential for the survival of many fish and other aquatic species. Leaves and fallen logs and branches provide food and habitat for many organisms. Forest also attracts birds and wildlife, providing important habitat and migration corridors for many species.

   Lowers home maintenance costs. Trees can reduce summer cooling costs for buildings by 15-50%, winter heating costs by as much as 20%. The forests may increase the property value by 10-15%.

   Improves the quality of life. It blocks out noise pollution, enhance privacy.