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Why Riparian Buffers are Important for Preserving Water Quality and Wildlife

Why Riparian Buffers are Important for Preserving Water Quality and Wildlife

Riparian buffers are a collection of trees, shrubs and other plants that grow along streams and rivers. Often times agricultural fertilizers and pesticides runoff into nearby streams and rivers, contaminating the water. In order to minimize this pollution, as well as erosion, the implementation of buffers is used.

Riparian buffers are one of the most simple and cost effective approaches to eliminating these problems. Wider and more diverse buffers have a greater ability to improve overall water quality. They can also improve viability of agricultural operations, and increase production value for farmers by trapping nutrients and pollutants. Buffers can recharge groundwater, and overall improve habitats for wildlife both on and off land.

In Pennsylvania, nitrogen is the number one pollutant into the Chesapeake Bay, with phosphorus and sediment following respectively. By moving farm land and planting a buffer, 26 percent of these pollutants is being cached. While riparian buffers are not 100 percent preventative, scientific studies indicate that 100 ft or more of forest buffer is the best management practice or mitigating water pollution/contamination from runoff. However, any amount as low as 25 ft is still considered good management practice.

What do you think? Take a look at this video to learn more about the benefits of riparian buffers.

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