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Riparian Areas: Functions and Strategies for Management
incompatible with preservation or rehabilitation of riparian areas, and involvement of the local community and other stakeholders. The goal of managing recreational activities in riparian areas is to perpetuate natural functions (e.g., wildlife habitat) while still allowing human use and enjoyment of these areas.
More formal education on riparian areas needs to reach broad and diverse audiences if it is to succeed in effecting positive change in riparian management. It should include traditional educational institutions and reach out directly to policy makers, natural resources personnel, government officials, developers, landowners, and the public at large. Natural resources professionals need to expand their perspectives beyond their formal background and training. The public’s aesthetic appreciation of waterbodies is already high. This appreciation should be harnessed to further public stewardship of riparian areas.
Riparian areas provide essential life functions such as maintaining streamflows, cycling nutrients, filtering chemicals and other pollutants, trapping and redistributing sediments, absorbing and detaining floodwaters, maintaining fish and wildlife habitats, and supporting the food web for a wide range of biota. The future success of at least five national policy objectives—protection of water quality, protection of wetlands, protection of threatened and endangered species, reduction of flood damage, and beneficial management of federal public lands—depends on the restoration of riparian areas.