I said that we were not going to tell you how to fix your creek because each situation is unique, but we will offer this advice that applies equally to all creeks. The first point is a mindset – that creeks are special places and they need preferential treatment; you cannot treat the creek area like you do the uplands. They are different and they need different management. Secondly, we have discovered that in most cases, there are one or more things that are hindering or preventing the natural recovery of the riparian area. If the manager will identify and then address that hindrance, the riparian area will begin to restore itself.
Here is a list of some of the common hindrances that will prevent a riparian area from fixing itself. At this particular workshop in the afternoon session we will focus specifically on one of these hindrances.
Riparian Areas-Why are they Important? Melissa ParkerTexas Parks and Wildlife Department
What is a Riparian Area? The band of vegetation that occurs adjacent to the stream bank Transitional zone between the wetlands and upland areas
Characteristics of a Healthy Riparian Area: Diverse collection of native vegetation in close association with water. Many of these plants have deep roots that: bind the soils of the streambank protect against erosion
Benefits of Healthy Riparian Areas: Provide important habitat for wildlife and fish Food, shelter, shading, travel corridors Improve water quality Filter & catch sediment Assimilate pollutants Streambank stability Reduce velocity of flood water Armor banks
Benefits of Healthy Riparian Areas: Sustained stream flows Store water in banks and floodplain Prolong base flow Recharge aquifer
Benefits of Healthy Riparian Areas: Important recreational resource: Anglers Hunters Canoeists Hikers Birdwatchers
Types of Plants Woody Plantsfound in Riparian (Trees & Areas Shrubs) Sedges/Rushes Grasses Forbs
Functions/Roles of Riparian VegetationErosion control Sediment trap Store water
Recognizing an Impaired Riparian Area: Lack of vegetation, exposed soil, and eroding banks Presence of vegetation more typical of upland sites Sites dominated by exotic or introduced species Park-like settings or ones that have been continuously grazed
How to Maintain or Restore Riparian Areas:• Creeks / Riparian Areas are special places; they need preferential treatment• Address the hindrance that is inhibiting natural restoration
Hindrances to Healthy / Functional Riparian Areas: Farming too close to the bank Mowing, spraying close to the creek Manicured landscapes next to the creek Chronic grazing concentrations in creek areas Excessive deer, exotics, hogs in creek areas Burning in riparian area Removal of large dead wood Artificial manipulation of banks / sediment Excessive vehicle traffic in creek area Poorly designed road crossings / bridges Excessive recreational foot traffic in creek area Excessive alluvial pumping or other withdrawals
Riparian Chain Reaction Adequate Vegetation:Protects banks from excess erosion Dissipates energy and slows the velocity of floodwater Sediment dropped Sediment trapped and stabilized Floodplain / riparian sponge is enlarged Increased groundwater recharge Base-flow is sustained over time
Contact Information: Melissa Parker- TPWD San Marcos, TX email@example.com