Riparian Rhapsody

Anyone with a stream, pond or wetland on their property has riparian areas that span the gap between wet and dry land.

A wetland encompassed by various vegetation.
Anyone with a stream, pond or wetland on their property has riparian areas that span the gap between wet and dry land.

What is it?

Riparian zone: the transition areas that span the gap between land and water. 

Rhapsody: a poem or enthusiastic expression of feeling

The Riparian Rhapsody is not a song by Queen. It’s an expression of joy for the space in between, a wet pond or stream edge and high, dry banks. These riparian areas deserve our thanks.

In this transition zone between wet and dry land, live flora and fauna equipped to withstand both high and low waters as the seasons dictate. Tolerance is their strength as they work to negate impacts of erosion and water pollution,
from fast flows and runoff, they’ve got a solution!

If you own rural lands with riparian zones, you can help.

  • Stop mowing at the edges
  • Plant native species

Need help? We’ve got you with grants and expertise! Soon you’ll be singing your own Riparian Rhapsody!

Living on the Edge

Riparian zones are home to a variety of specialized plant and animal communities that can tolerate both the wet and dry worlds as water levels change through the seasons.

They also perform valuable functions for us by:

  • Keeping it clean – The vegetation that lives on this edge helps to filter run-off and sediment before it flows into the water, cleaning the water as it flows.
  • Keeping it together – Below the surface, roots of the vegetation bind the soil and keep it together when high energy wave action and fast flows aim to erode soil downstream.

Create Your Own “Riparian Rhapsody”

  • Start small, stop the mow and let it grow. Even a meter wide strip of tall grass can improve water quality. Replacing non-native vegetation with native grasses takes it a notch further to prevent stream and shoreline erosion with their extensive root systems.
  • Go big and grow wild. Increase biodiversity and plant a variety of native plants, shrubs and trees within 30 meters of a stream, pond or wetland edge. Taller vegetation shades the water and keeps it cold. Shade prevents thermal impacts like algae blooms and degraded brook trout habitat.

This spring, the Landowner Action Fund approved funding for six riparian planting projects. Once complete, these actions will keep water clean and cold, and keep soil together to prevent erosion.

Learn more about the Landowner Action Fund and CVC’s Tree Planting Programs.

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