How Riparian Buffers Support Healthy Streams

August 24, 2022

Riparian buffers are more than easy on the eyes — they also help support healthy stream ecosystems. CA’s Open Space team is super excited about the sustainability benefits of the new riparian buffer near the Wilde Lake dam.

You can think of this delightful addition of wildflowers and native plants along the stream bank as a vegetated “buffer-strip.” Riparian buffers offer important benefits like decreasing pollution, controlling erosion and providing wildlife habitat.

Benefits of riparian buffers

Prepping for this riparian buffer was a team effort! In fall 2021, CA’s Capital Improvements team stabilized the stream banks between the Wilde Lake dam and the pedestrian bridge. The area adjacent to the stream was seeded with turf grass. Then in spring 2022, members of Wilde Lake CARES and CA replaced the turfgrass with a wildflower mix and other native plants.

Here are just some of the benefits:

  • Minimized erosion. The roots of the plants help hold the soil in place and make it more difficult for water and wind to chip away at the soil.
  • Decreased pollution.The vegetation will not only use excess nutrients, but it will convert carbon dioxide into oxygen to help clean the air too!
  • Wildlife habitat. The height of the plants provides cover for small creatures, as well as food for insects.
  • Aesthetic value. Who doesn’t love a cascade of colorful flowers?

More to come

Maintaining the buffer as a meadow for viewing and pollinator habitat will require ongoing maintenance. CA’s Open Space team is committed to invasive plant removal and biannual mowing (timed to not interfere with pollinator use and replenishing native plant populations). We’re also excited to bring a similar project to Lake Kittamuqundi near Kennedy Gardens this fall, so stay tuned for details. 

Keep a lookout for this wildflower garden next time you are walking around Wilde Lake! And of course, be sure to tag us in all your lovely flower photos on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love to share them and inspire the community to enjoy the outdoors.

 

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