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The AWPF Official Website Protecting Arizona's River and Riparian Resources
Arizona Water Protection Fund AWPF's Official Web Site
Protecting Arizona's River and Riparian Resources
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Riparian Habitat

Riparian Habitat

What is Riparian Habitat

Riparian habitat is defined as an ecosystem found between aquatic and upland environments that is dependent on the existence of a perennial, intermittent or ephemeral water source.  Soil and vegetation in riparian areas have distinct characteristics that make them different from surrounding areas.


Riparian habitats are vital resource areas that:

  • Improve water quantity by storing water in streambanks, which is slowly released to help maintain base flows.
  • Improve water quality by trapping sediments from surface water runoff, providing nutrient cycling and increasing streambank stabilization.
  • Provide flood control by slowing and absorbing flood waters, resulting in reduced flood damage and increased groundwater storage.
  • Provide highly valued recreational opportunities such as fishing, camping, hiking, wildlife viewing and picnicking.
  • Sustain high biodiversity of plant and animal species.
  • Provide important wildlife habitat such as food, shelter, relief and travel corridors.
  • Help stabilize water temperatures for aquatic species.
  • Provide economic benefits by increasing property values, improving water supplies, reducing flood damage, filtering pollutants and supporting recreational activities.