Although it sounds like a fancy word, simply put, it is a unique habitat type that surrounds a water body. This band of water loving vegetation will run along stream banks, encircle a lake or wetland, and spread from the water’s edge outwards until conditions dry out.
These riparian areas are important to both you, and the environment. For you, they filter sediment and contaminants out of water we could end up drinking or swimming in, they stabilize land we might live next to, and they provide areas for trails and recreation. Riparian areas also provide shelter and habitat for all kinds of critters, shade and cool water to improve fish habitat, and can serve as migratory corridors for wildlife. As people often want to have their lawn go right up to the water’s edge, or expand their crop area as much as possible, riparian habitats in developed areas are under stress or diminishing altogether. However, as people become aware of the value and importance of these areas, efforts are being made to re-create riparian habitats with willing landowners.
To facilitate this, various non-profit groups coordinate restoration projects to bring meanders back to streams that were once channelized, diversify the habitat by adding a variety of woody debris, and plant a plethora of native shrub and tree species. Combined, this effort aims to recreate as natural of a habitat as possible.
You can help!
The Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition is hosting two volunteer plantings where all ages can learn about the restoration work, practice species identification, get dirty planting trees, and enjoy a free lunch.
1) Saturday March 29th
2) Saturday April 25th
Contact [email protected] for more details.

– Steve Clegg is the owner of a local, environmentally conscious, woodworking company, Clegg Woodcrafts.

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