Many of actions you can take toward conserving, protecting, and restoring aspects of riparian corridors are covered in Stream Conservation, Protection and Restoration and Soil Conservation, Protection and Restoration units of this website.
Streams and riparian corridors perform key ecological functions including modulating stream flow, filtering chemicals, and providing food, water, and habitat for many species of plants and animals. These sensitive areas reflect the condition of the surrounding landscape. Changes in land use, hydrology, or to biotic communities within the watershed can indirectly or directly impact the stream channel’s ability to perform key ecosystem functions. Major modifications within the watershed can disrupt the stream corridor system enough that it no longer can modulate stream flow, store flood waters, provide habitat, or filter chemicals in runoff.
Natural systems are resilient and are often able to recover from major disturbances without human involvement. However, systems are sometimes modified to such an extent that intervention is necessary to restore balance and functioning. Though this module will not prepare you to lead a large-scale restoration effort, key components to restoration will be introduced. Conservation and protection measures, which when consistently implemented can eliminate the need for restoration efforts, will also be covered. Much more information on restoration principles and techniques can be found under the “For Further Reading” section of this module.