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LANDSCAPE NERD VOCAB : Riparian Corridor

In our previous article, we went over some ideas for flood control and the term riparian corridor was utilized as a healthy vegetation option to assist in flood management around streams. Not sure if everyone had "riparian" in their vocabulary toolbelt so we chose to define and explain riparian zones/corridors a little further.

Being an outdoor junkie, I absolutely love riparian zones. Okay, it sounds a little weird typing it out but this is probably my favorite natural landscape element. We have them all around us and you probably never noticed them. Here in the Ozarks, I've spotted riparian corridors in people's yards, in the middle of towns, and of course, our beautiful riverways.

The riparian corridor is the diverse nutrient lands along waterways. This is a critical zone during floods and for the overall health of the stream. A healthy riparian corridor isn't just the dense vegetative floodplain closest to a canal, this zone is a stream's bodyguard.

Our rivers here are perfect examples of healthy, shaded riparian corridors that protect, retain, and feed our crystal clear aquatic habitats. Forested banks help filter pollutants from the waterway as well as control water temps for a healthy aquatic ecoregion. Our riparian corridors also help retain riverbanks with a healthy root system of the blended vegetation. Now for the soil...

Riparian zone soil is a beautiful mix of soils that come and go with floods and is some of the richest soil due to the natural cocktail of soil types. Along waterways, the soil wetness depends on water level. Riparian corridor soil is a sponge that will soak up water as the water level rises. This is critical during a flood to help decrease the top level of the flood and retain water for vegetation afterward.

As great as a healthy riparian corridor is for a healthy stream, it also benefits our terrestrial ecosystem as well. Providing food, shade and water for so many animals, they also act as migration routes and rest spots between habitats for a variety of wildlife.

Scratching the surface of how awesome riparian corridors are, this was fun shining some light on these natural zones that work with the ecoregions around it and shares a mutual reliance with our beautiful waterways. Maybe next time you enjoy boating at the river or fishing our streams, you'll notice some riparian zone details. Maybe you have some land and enjoy a riparian corridor right outside your window.

Enjoy the riparian corridors in your life and ask us questions you would like us to expand upon. We would love to geek out further into the world of riparian corridors or any aspect of natural landscapes.

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