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What are Stream Buffers?

Stream buffers, also referred to as riparian buffers, are vegetated areas along streambanks which create habitats for vital organism to thrive in and protect the steam from various outside influences. Buffer zones vary in width and composition, depending on their intended use and nature of their environment. Establishing buffers helps keep livestock, equipment, and other vehicular and foot-traffic away from waterways, and helps protect their water quality by filtering run-off, absorbing excess harmful chemicals and nutrients, and establishing increased habitats and diversity for aquatic life.

As outlined by NRCS, stream buffers offer the following benefits:

  1. Reduces erosion with structural elements (such as large wood and possibly some rock) and grass, shrubs, trees and other cover along streambanks.

  2. Improves water quality by reducing amounts of nutrients, chemicals, animal waste, and sediment entering streams.

  3. Provides cover and habitat complexity for aquatic organisms, birds and small animals.


How Do Our Farmers Use Them?

Read about how Linda Kane and Dave Mellum are protecting vulnerable streambanks from the July 27, 2022 field day at their neighboring farms.

The Uplands Virtual Conservation Roadtrip:

Stop #2: Butler Family Farms

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