Buffer - Arkansas Forest Resources Center

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Riparian Buffers for Water and Stream Protection

Hal O. Liechty

Arkansas Forest Resources Center

School of Forest Resources, UAM liechty@uamont.edu

What is a riparian area?

Latin word “riparious”~ belonging to the bank of a river

“The riparian corridor encompasses the stream channel and the portion of the terrestrial landscape from the high water mark toward the uplands….. Naiman et al.

1993

Stream channel and land that interacts with the stream

What is a riparian area?

Area within the channel but also land that is flooded outside the channel

--Flooded 1 out of 100 years--

--Flooded 2 out of 3 years--

What is a riparian area?

What is a riparian area?

What is a buffer?

Buffer “to lesson the shock” &

“something that separates two items”—Webster Dictionary

Vegetation that separates a field, a managed forest, or an urban development from a stream, lake, etc and reduces the impact of the land management on water quality

What is a buffer?

Separates stream from other landuses

Reduces impact of management practices on stream

What is a buffer?

Separates stream from other landuses

Reduces impact of management practices on stream

What is the purpose of a riparian buffer?

Moderates Stream

Temperature

Food for Aquatic

Organisms

Filter Strip

Wildlife Habitat

Purpose: Filter Strip

Remove nutrients, sediment, chemicals from water before it reaches the stream

Purpose: Filter Strip

Filters Nutrients and Sediment from Surface Water

CROPS

Grass

RIPARIAN

BUFFER

STREAM

Purpose: Filter Strip

Filters Nutrients and Sediment from Surface Water

Purpose: Filter Strip

Filters Nutrients and Sediment from Surface Water

Grass buffers somewhat more effective than trees

Sediment and phosphorus removal

20-85%

Wider buffers better

Purpose: Filter Strip

Nutrient and Chemical Uptake Subsurface Water

CROPS

Grass

RIPARIAN

BUFFER

STREAM

Purpose: Filter Strip

Nutrient and Chemical Uptake

Trees and grass can absorbs nutrients & contaminates

Long-term storage in trees

Important uptake for phosphorus and nitrogen

Purpose: Filter Strip

Degradation and Denitrification

CROPS

N

2

RIPARIAN

BUFFER

N

2

Grass

N0

3

NH

3

Org N

STREAM

Purpose: Filter Strip

Degradation and Denitrification

100

80

60

40

20

0

Fo re st

Fo re st ed

W et la nd

G ra ss

G ra ss/

Fo re st

W et la nd

Source: Mayer et al. 2005, EPA

Purpose: Riparian Protection

Bank Stabilization

Vegetation stabilizes bank maintains stream depth and width

Purpose: Riparian Protection

Bank Stabilization

Removal of vegetation from banks increases sediment in stream and width of stream

Purpose: Modification of Stream Climate

Shading of Stream Reduces Temperature

Removal of vegetation can increase maximum water temperatures 12 o

F.

Retention buffer alters temperature <2 o

F

Corbett et al. 1978

Purpose: Modification of Stream

Climate

30

25

20

15

15

19

14

21

25

18

21

25

18

16

19

15

10

5

0

Uncut Forest Clearcut

Mean Max. Weekly

Herbaceous Tree Buffer

Max. Weekly Mean Weekly

Lee and Samuel 1976

Purpose: Modification of Stream

Climate- - Aquatic Organism

Water

Temperature

(F)

Solubility of O

2

(mg/L)

41

50

68

77

12.8

11.3

9.0

8.2

Purpose: Modification of Stream Climate-

- Aquatic Organism

Warm water fish

(smallmouth bass, crappie etc.) need temperatures from 65-85

o

F --DO needs

Growth of juvenile smallmouth bass decline at temperatures>86

o

F

Growth of mature smallmouth bass decline at temperatures >88.7

o

F

Cold water fish

45-65

o

(trout) need temperatures from

F -- high DO needs.

Purpose: Aquatic Organism Habitat

Benthic Invertebrates-Aquatic organisms without backbones

Live the majority of their life as larvae and nymphs in the water and only emerge as adults to mate outside the stream (flying stage)

Bottom of aquatic food chain

Purpose: Aquatic Organism Habitat

Food and Energy for Macroinvertebrates

Leaves and other organic matter source of food for macroinvertebrates:

1) Shredders

2) Filter feeders

Purpose: Aquatic Organism Habitat

Food and Energy for Macroinvertebrates

20 to 75% of leaf weight lost in 116 days following input of foliage to stream

Rapid colonization of the leaves by organisms within

21 days of input to stream

Petty and Brown 1982

Illinois River

Purpose: Aquatic Organism Habitat

Large Woody Debris

Macroinvertebrates cling to large woody debris for protection and stability

Purpose: Aquatic Organism Habitat

Large Woody Debris

Macroinvertebrates to cling to large woody debris for protection and stability

Provides diversity in bed structure and stream flow

Purpose: Aquatic Organism Habitat

Large Woody Debris

Macroinvertebrates to cling to large woody debris for protection and stability

Provides diversity in bed structure and stream flow

Cover from predators

Purpose: Aquatic Organism Habitat

Large Woody Debris

Deflects water and creates slack water

Dissipates stream energy protecting stream banks

Purpose: Wildlife Habitat

http://www.sotir.com/publications/retrofit.html

Forest Buffer

Types of Buffers

Use native trees with multiple values.

Typical buffer in managed forests

Types of Buffers

Grass Buffer

Efficient Filter Strip

Utilize Native Grass

Can Benefit Wildlife

Types of Buffers

Three Zone Buffer

http://www.cayugawatershed.org/Cayu ga%20Lake/RPP/caywetrip.htm

Types of Buffers

Three Zone Buffer

Undisturbed

Forest

http://www.ieaconline.org/

Grass

Managed

Forest

Types of Buffers

Wildlife Buffer

Wildlife Corridor

Plant Species

Beneficial to Wildlife

Wider Buffer

Types of Buffers

Urban Buffer

http://www.crjc.org/riparianbuffers.htm

Aesthetics

Recreation

Greenway

Questions?

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