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M: #6 - 477 Martin St, Penticton, BC, V2A 5L2

P: 250-770-1467

E: info[@]osstewardship.ca

Reg # 84539 8775 RR0001

© 2019 by Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society

RIPARIAN AREAS

Riparian areas are shorelines- the strips of land beside streams, wetlands, lakes and other water bodies. They support a community of moisture-loving plants that are distinctly different from aquatic vegetation and from the plants growing in drier grasslands and open forests.

In the dry Okanagan and Similkameen valleys, wetland and riparian areas are at a premium.  Up to 90% of these habitats have been lost to channelization and agricultural and urban development.

 

A healthy riparian area has different kinds of trees, of varied ages and heights, a thick underbrush layer, and other lush vegetation.

RIPARIAN AREAS HAVE SUPER POWERS!

​CLEAN WATER

Act as natural filters, filtering sediments and pollutants from runoff.

FLOOD PROTECTION

Roots provide flood protection by slowing and dissipating high stream flows.

EROSION CONTROL

Stabilize stream banks, reducing soil erosion and siltation, protecting croplands and pastures.

TEMPERATURE CONTROL

Provide shaded, cooler, moist green belts that protect wildlife and fish from the hot Okanagan summers.

INCREASE MOISTURE

Trap snow, adding further moisture to your agricultural fields by releasing it slowly.

IMPROVE CROPS AND PASTURES

Create a barrier for invasive plants such as puncturevine and knapweed which could otherwise reduce crop quantity and quality.

BENEFICIAL INSECTS

Provide habitat for beneficial insects which can aid in pest control and pollination in agricultural setting

CRITICAL HABITAT

Riparian areas have a multi-layered canopy, thick underbrush and a variety of trees and shrubs that provide food, nesting sites, shelter and escape cover for wildlife.

WHO LIVES HERE?

80% of all wildlife are directly dependent on riparian ecosystems or use them more frequently than other habitats!

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

LEAVE A BUFFER

Designate a no mow zone along the shoreline. Often, the most helpful thing you can do is leave a healthy buffer of riparian plants. Consider planting native riparian plants in order to enhance your streamside buffer.

KEEP PETS AWAY FROM STREAMS

Animal waste should be stored well away from stream edges as it can contaminate drinking water. Pets can erode streambanks, causing siltation and their activity disturbs and they may even kill wildlife directly.

EXCLUDE LIVESTOCK

Livestock feces can contaminate drinking water, they eat riparian plants and contribute to erosion and siltation of streams. Fencing, with a nose-in for limited water access, is an extremely effective method of protecting our drinking water quality.

DON'T "TIDY"

While they may look a bit messy, dead standing trees, tangled bushes and fallen logs are important habitat for wildlife and help to protect shorelines from erosion.
 

LANDSCAPE WITH CARE

Despite good intentions, changes you make near streams may destroy riparian habitat.

AVOID PESTICIDES, HERBICIDES & FERTILIZERS

Avoid using pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers whenever possible. If you must use them, follow manufacturer's recommendations.

KEEP LITTER AND GARDEN WASTE OUT OF STREAMS

Trash can collect into "jams" and block water flow.  Branches, grass clippings and weeds rot and reduce oxygen in the water and some garden plants may be invasive.

MANAGE INVASIVE PLANTS

Learn about invasive plants, like yellow flag iris and burdock, and how to manage them.

INSTALL NEST BOXES

Provide nesting, roosting and perching locations for birds and bats.

If you are taking care of a riparian area on your property, contact us to find out how to become a steward by emailing info [at] osstewardship [dot] ca

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW!

Riparian areas throughout British Columbia are protected by the Riparian Areas Regulation and the Water Sustainability Act.  Before doing any work in a riparian area, consult Front Counter BC AND your local government office whether you be planning development or "undevelopment". 

 

Any work within a riparian area is subject to permits and/or notifications.