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Topic: Salmon Watch - 10/28 FP, Your chance to chime in...< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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mattklara Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2009,02:52  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So, what do you know about riparian ecosystems?

What is the Riparian Zone/Riparian Ecosystem?

Why are riparian zones important to the river, water, salmon, and other creatures?

What are some indicators/components of a healthy riparian ecosystem?

Why are salmon important to teh riparian areas of the Pacific Northwest?

What are some ways that people hurt/damage riparian areas/ecosystems?

Are there ways to live happily without harming riparian areas?


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jomeder Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2009,04:30 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi Matt,

Because I should be working I will try and answer the quiz :-). Riparian zones are quite an issue here in NZ at the moment too. Loss of them is implicated in the drop of native galaxiid populations which use riparian vegetation and detritus to spawn as well as to water quality reduction.

QUOTE
What is the Riparian Zone/Riparian Ecosystem?

It's the area along the banks of waterways. Not sure where it begins and ends, but I would say it starts at what is like the intertidal zone in the sea, where the bed might be exposed due to level fluctuations, back to where vegetation which is associated with water and damp areas gives way to stuff like meadow or woodlands etc.

QUOTE
Why are riparian zones important to the river, water, salmon, and other creatures?

With respect to the water quality, the riparian zone works like a filter on runoff from the surrounding landscape. It provides food and nutrients through organic matter to things living in and around the water. It also provides habitat, both on the banks as well as in the water by means such as branches dropping into streams.

QUOTE
What are some indicators/components of a healthy riparian ecosystem?

That I'm not so sure about. Here in NZ a lot of the time it would be that there actually is one. I guess it depends on the situation. Plenty of typical animal and insect life would be a good indicator I guess. Appropriate water quality.

QUOTE
Why are salmon important to teh riparian areas of the Pacific Northwest?

I only know this from reading magazines but I believe the dying salmon are a rich source of nutrients for both insects/animals and plants. I think I read something which said a smelly turbid stream was actually healthy one after spawning time.

QUOTE
What are some ways that people hurt/damage riparian areas/ecosystems?

In NZ the big one is them being completely removed. In farming areas these leads to stock breaking down the banks and muddying the water. I imagine it also encourages greater erosion of the banks by the water. There are also people running lawns and such right down to the waters edge, or industrial areas.

Another issue we have in NZ is willows choking streams and rivers and turning them into swamps. I think they were originally planted to stabilise banks. There have been quite a few restoration schemes aimed and removing willows from streams and rivers.

QUOTE
Are there ways to live happily without harming riparian areas?

Of course :-). I saw a program on TV about some farmers who were concerned about the degradation of water quality in their area and who restored their riparian areas through planting of native plants with great success. Waterways can be fenced off to prevent stock damage to the banks. In urban areas it makes sense to have reserves along the edges of waterways which are planted appropriately and have designated accessways to encourage people to access the water there rather than damage riparian zones willy-nilly.

Regards,

Jo
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2009,15:06 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I hope Jo had the correct answers because I'l have to unlearn everything that i read just now.
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mattklara Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 28 2009,18:23 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Jo had it right.

Of course there is alot to discuss.

As for the extent of the riparian zone...

Longitudinally (along the length of a river) it should ideall extend from the headwaters to the mouth.  Of course, humans have a knack of breaking up the riparian corridor by clearing, damming, fancing, etc.

Laterally (90 degrees to the river) I would say that the riparian zone includes all of the area between points on opposite sides of the river which regularly interact with the river.  That is intentionally vague, because in some instances, the riparian area may only be a narrow band along the river, or it may extend well across the floodplain, depending on the system.  Many riparian areas are wet and periodically inundated with river water, but I'd say that in many instances that is not the case.  For example, streams in steep gorges derive nutrients, shade, and woody debris from sources well above the water, though onyl separated from the water by a short distance horizontally.  

I suppose there could be some argument about the river/stream itself being a part of the riparian zone.  It's likely a moot point, because the interaction between river and land is what defines the riparian area, and that boundary is very dynamic at times.


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Sign the petition supporting wild steelhead release on Oregon's Umpqua River system.

Sign The Petition Here


"What are the odds that Matt has a steelhead tattoo located somewhere on his body?"   - joesnuffy
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