As part of a healthy ecosystem, Riparian buffers are vital to many fish and wildlife species. Riparian buffers are important to many migratory birds as they provide nesting, foraging sites and cover from predators. Trees and shrubs also provide several important components of fish habitat, root structure improves bank stability, tree crowns help maintain cool temperatures by shading streams and older trees provide habitat structure when they die and fall into the stream.
Working with Partners to Improve Riparian Habitats
The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program work with private landowners and various partners on riparian restoration. Projects are designed to provide newly restored habitat that will benefit migratory birds, interjurisdictional fish, and federally listed species. In the case of farmland, we work with USDA and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture using the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Where buffers are needed, we pay for fencing livestock out of creeks, planting trees and shrubs in the buffer, constructing livestock crossings and providing water sources away from the creek. The land owner can also receive a rental payment for some or all of the land in the buffer.
Monitoring the Success of Restoration Projects
In order to help us constantly improve our riparian restoration planning, we monitor several projects each year. Systematically looking at the factors affecting tree growth and survival, we can evaluate the effectiveness of various planting techniques under different conditions.