What is a Riparian Zone?

Riparian areas are lands that occur along water bodies. Typical examples include flood plains and streambanks.

 Why are they Important?

They are an extremely important component of healthy watersheds and ecological function.

Riparian areas provide critical habitat for wildlife, act as buffers between upland areas and open water, help filter pollutants, reduce stream bank erosion and maintain stable stream channel geomorphology, and regulate stream temperature through shade.

The Council contributes to riparian restoration through invasive species removal and riparian planting of native plant species.


Habitat complexity projects often include the installation of large woody debris (LWD), which refers to the fallen trees, logs and stumps, root wads, and piles of branches along the edges of streams, rivers and lakes.

Why is large woody debris important?

  • Provides vital habitat and refuge for juvenile and adult salmon and fish
  • Stabilizes shorelines and reduce erosion
  • Provides food sources and habitat for aquatic insects and wildlife along shorelines


Fish passage barriers can be any feature that prevents the movement of aquatic species up or down a stream. These barriers include waterfalls, cascades, dikes/levees, ditches, culverts, weirs, flood/tide gates, dams, and other human made structures.

Why remove or improve them?

These structures can impede fish passage, stream function and miles of habitat for aquatic species throughout the watershed. Removal of barriers can open miles of spawning habitat, restore streams to a more natural state, and mitigate flood risks.