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More about clean water:
Stream. Photo credit: Andy Bauer.
An important defense:
Trees, shrubs, and other streamside plantings are an important defense against water pollution, soil erosion, and threats to wildlife habitat.
When strategically placed in riparian areasRiparian Areas Areas of land that occur along the edges of rivers, streams, lakes, and other bodies of water., a group of plants is called a buffer because the vegetation provides a zone of protection around bodies of water. Streamside plantings protect wildlife and water quality in several ways:
- Temperature control
Trees along streams create shade that helps maintain low water temperature. Cool water is an important component of fish habitat, especially for fish like salmon, steelhead, and trout that travel up streams and creeks to reproduce.
- Habitat creation
Fallen logs in the water create complex stream structures that provide safety and refuge for adolescent fish. Leaves and debris from streamside plants are a source of food for many aquatic organisms.
- Streambank stabilization
The roots of trees and shrubs hold soil in place, helping to prevent erosion. Roots also absorb excess nutrients that run off of lawns or agricultural fields. Microorganisms living in the soil of streamside buffers are effective at breaking down toxins in herbicides and other chemicals.
- Flood prevention
Robust streamside plantings help reduce the chance of flooding during periods of heavy rain. Rainwater moving across the land is slowed considerably when it reaches dense vegetation. Slowing the flow of water allows more time for soil and plants to absorb rainwater.
How we can help you with streamside plantings:
Do you have a stream near your property?
We can provide recommendations for improving the condition of the stream and its banks.
- If you live in an urban area of Washington County:
Check out which streams have neighborhood-scale restoration projects underway.Neighborhood Stream Restoration
- If you have a rural property:
We offer several stream enhancement programs to help you improve water quality and stream health.Streamside Planting Programs