Riparian Buffers

Riparian buffer strips of perennial vegetation contribute to sustainable agriculture by reducing soil loss, improving water quality, and stabilizing stream banks. Buffer strips of trees and shrubs improve aesthetics and wildlife habitat. Forested buffer strips also make good financial sense if they are installed through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The forested riparian buffer (CP22) practice allows landowners to maximize the number of acres that they can enroll in the continuous CRP. In fact choosing the forested riparian buffer will allow one-third more area to eligible for the program's 15 year rental payment.


Conservation & Environmental Benefits of Buffers


Forested riparian buffers consist of strips of trees and shrubs. Riparian buffers act as living filters, which trap excess sediment and nutrient runoff; thereby, improving water quality. Buffers allow water to soak into the ground which reduces flash flooding and allows improved groundwater recharge. They reduce streambank erosion by as much as 80 percent on cropped or heavily grazed land.
 
Wildlife benefit greatly from forested riparian buffers. Studies indicate that buffers support 5 times as many bird species as cropped or heavily grazed land. A forested riparian buffer also allows the maxim buffer width (180 feet) of all CRP buffer practices. Maximizing buffer width maximizes your water quality, wildlife, and financial benefits. Working with your forester you can design your buffer to attract the specific wildlife species that you desire on your property.