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Riparian Zone/Riparian Buffer

  1. The area bordering a river, stream, or other waterway which is biologically important for the healthy functioning of the stream's biology. Riparian vegetation creates shade, bank stability and provides a food source and habitat for organisms living in or along the stream. [source: Greenways Land Trust, Glossary: http://www.greenwaystrust.ca/glossary/glossary.php]
  2. A terrestrial area, other than a coastal area, of variable width adjacent to and influenced by a perennial or intermittent body of water - note 1. the riparian zone contributes organic matter to the river or stream and may be influenced by a periodic surface or subsurface water - note 2. riparian zones provide a functional linkage between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems through coarse and fine organic matter input, bank stability, water temperature regulation, sediment and nutrient flow regulation, a maintenance of unique wildlife habitat, and in limiting or mitigating nonpoint source pollution - note 3. the management of a riparian zone is commonly constrained or modified to retain particular ecosystem values and functions; the term is used in management plans, legislation, regulation, and government policy in witch riparian zone width is variably defined. [source: DCNR State Forestry Resource Management Plan, Glossary of Terms: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/sfrmp/glossary.htm]