Riparian areas are often a unique and biologically rich habitat because they possess a variety of physical, biological and chemical conditions not found elsewhere. In addition to increasing and supporting biodiversity/wildlife habitat (in fact, some plant and animal species can survive only in riparian habitats), these areas are extremely important for humans as well:

  • Improved water quality— for recreational purposes, drinking water in wells and for livestock
  • Water absorption and storage— maintains groundwater levels (for wells), and reduces  flooding
  • Flood control—plants on the banks reduce the speed of moving water during storm events, reducing the impact of flooding
  • Protecting streambanks—prevents eroded soil from entering water
  • Shade—helps to reduce water temperature, and increase habitat for species such as salmon, which are of interest to anglers
  • Carbon sequestration—plants act as a carbon sink and store carbon from greenhouse gases
  • Shelterbelt—shrubs and trees act as a windbreak, reducing wind damage