Riparian Habitat


Moose do not herd into large groups, even in winter.  They prefer to travel in small family groups or remain solitary. They need their space!  Never approach moose too closely. 

Riparian areas are a transitional habitat between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems found immediately adjacent to rivers, streams, and sometimes lakes. The word "riparian" is derived from Latin ripa, meaning river bank. 

The riparian habitat on Arapaho NWR is the second most prevalent habitat on the Refuge and is composed of the river channel and the associated floodplain of the Illinois River and Potter, Soap and Spring Creeks. It covers 4,374 acres and supports a large diversity of wildlife species in every season of the year. The bank area of these waterways is dominated by willow, grass and sedge species. This habitat supports numerous wildlife species. The meadow areas within the riparian zone provide optimal nesting habitat for waterfowl such as northern pintail, mallard, gadwall, and green-winged teal; and grassland songbirds including western meadowlark, savannah sparrow, and vesper sparrow. Sage grouse broods forage for high protein invertebrates and forbs in these meadow areas. Wintering elk also make use of this area. In addition, the willow complex supports at least 40 species of Neotropical songbirds such as the yellow warbler, song sparrow, Lincoln sparrow and willow flycatcher, along with moose, northern river otter, American beaver and wintering elk.  Water birds including, Wilson's snipe, spotted sandpiper, sora, and black-crowned night heron, also use this type of habitat.