Living along the river brings with it an unparalleled lifestyle and experience. From being lulled to sleep by moving water, fly fishing from the back yard, or watching dippers work riffles, rivers provide those who live near them with an incredible experience, and an important responsibility. Roaring Fork Conservancy has prepared this webpage to help you protect our rivers.
The area along the river, known as the riparian zone, is critical to wildlife and important to water quality. Plants in the riparian zone take advantage of ample water, which in turn provides habitat for hundreds of species of wildlife. Although 85% of wildlife in Colorado need riparian habitat, only 1% of the land in Colorado is riparian. This means that without riparian habitat most wildlife species fail to find food, shelter, or breeding areas.
The benefits of maintaining healthy riparian habitat are many:
- Food & Cover for Birds - birds use riparian zones as migratory rest stops, breeding grounds, and feeding
- Shade for Trout - trout have difficulty breathing, spawning and feeding in warm water
- Flood Water Absorption - riparian soils absorb flood waters and release them slowly
- Pollution Filtering - riparian plants trap sediment and filter pollutants
- Bank Stabilization - riparian plants are two to three times more effective than rock and boulder banks at stabilizing rivers banks, especially during floods
- Water Savings - planting riparian species means little to no irrigation use, saving homeowners money and water
- All the Things You Love About Rivers - scenery, wildlife, water quality, fish habitat, beauty!