Why are they important?
Riparian buffers are vegetated areas adjacent to water bodies such as
streams, lakes, marshes, and shorelines.
Benefits derived from vegetated riparian buffers, especially forested buffers, include water quality enhancement, stormwater and floodwater management, stream bank and shoreline stabilization, water temperature modification, wildlife habitat protection, and absorption of airborne pollutants.
Buffers may also serve as attractions for tourists and community members, becoming greenways and recreation areas for hikers, birders, photographer, and so forth.
Riparian buffers are included as Resource Protection Areas (RPAs) under the Bay Act, which means that they are protected under state law and local ordinances. Generally, no development, land disturbance, or vegetation removal is allowed within 100 feet of the water.
Source: Riparian Buffers Modification and Mitigation Guidance Manual, DCR
Restoring a buffer or planting a buffer garden is an easy, fun way to help protect the area's waterways from pollution and erosion. Shrubs and groundcover can hold the soil on banks in place, thus increasing shoreline stability and preventing the stormwater runoff directly entering the waterway from your lawn. Learn more