Our rivers and streams are in danger. Every day, pollution and development threatens the health of the approximately 6,000 miles of streams and rivers in the state and the habitats that surround them. To many people, these vegetated riverfront areas are important to the people and animals that reside in the area.
BENEFITS OF VEGETATED RIVERFRONT
Naturally vegetated corridors are made up of a mix of natural, native vegetation such as trees, shrubs, ground cover plants, and grasses. They offer a low-cost, proactive approach to maintaining the valuable services these areas provide. The benefits of these corridors along watercourses and wetlands include:
- Controlling flooding, erosion, and sedimentation by slowing flows and decreasing the volume of runoff;
- Helping to protect water quality by enhancing the filtering functions through which sediments, nutrients, nitrogen, and other contaminants are sequestered and removed;
- Storing, recharging, and purification of groundwater;
- Decreasing the impact of nonpoint source pollution;
- Creating valuable recreation resources for humans and habitats for wildlife;
- Reducing potential property damage resulting from flooding; and
- Stabilizing water temperatures by providing shade and minimizing heat input from runoff.
There are also several economic benefits that go along with maintaining naturally vegetated riverfronts. Along watercourses and wetlands, these corridors provide a cost-effective alternative that minimizes the need for stormwater infrastructure and engineered solutions to flooding, erosion, and water quality problems. This approach is cost-effective because the protection of these corridors does not have the same capital, operational, and maintenance costs as engineered solutions.
Since these corridors link terrestrial (land) and aquatic (water) ecosystems, their importance is far greater than their small portion of the land-base would suggest.
WHAT WE DO
CFE is advocating in the legislature, administrative agencies, and courts for policies to better protect these key corridors.