In determining the importance of the watershed that connects with our shoreline, the word Riparian often surfaces. In the National Energy Board KM/TMX hearings, the pdf enclosed was one of the reports presented. It gives a well-researched description of the definition of Riparian along with the implications for development which impinges upon such areas.
This was originally filed at : https://docs.neb-one.gc.ca/ll-eng/llisapi.dll/fetch/2000/90464/90552/548311/956726/2392873/2449925/2450952/2798050/C301-15-1_-_IR_From_Salmon_River_Enhancement_Society_to_Pipeup_-_A4Q7W6_SRES_RESPONSE_compressed_-_A4R4F2.pdf?nodeid=2797843&vernum=-2
QUOTE” “Role of Riparian Habitat in Streams Why is the Riparian Area Important? Riparian areas and the vegetation and structure associated with this component of aquatic environments in streams and lakes comprise critical habitats for many species, including commercial, recreational and aboriginal (CRA) fishery fishes. A riparian zone, or riparian area, is the water/land interface between the terrestrial upland area and a river or stream (Figure 1). Plant communities along the edge of streams or lakes are usually referred to as the riparian vegetation (Figure 2). The plant community within a riparian area often is dominated by hydrophilic species, but not always (Figure 2). In British Columbia watercourses that support CRA fisheries rely profoundly on intact and functional riparian areas (viz., Forest and Range Practices Act https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/code/ Table 1; Riparian Areas Regulation http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animalsecosystems/fish/riparian-areas-regulation Table 2). To reiterate, the scientific literature is very clear that riparian areas comprise critical habitats for both fishes and other species (Wenger 1999, Broadmeadow and Nisbet 2004). The role of riparian habitats is elegantly described by excerpts in the following quotes: Riparian buffers are important for good water quality [in streams]. Riparian zones help to prevent [deleterious] sediment[s], nitrogen, phosphorus, pesticides and other pollutants from C301 – Salmon River Enhancement Society 3 reaching a stream. Riparian buffers are most effective at improving water quality when they include a native grass or herbaceous filter strip along with deep rooted trees and shrubs along the stream. Riparian vegetation is a major source of energy and nutrients for stream communities. They are especially important in small, headwater streams where up to 99% of the energy input may be from woody debris and leaf litter. [Invertebrates associated with this and instream vegetation contribute as fish food.] Overhanging riparian vegetation keeps streams cool, [and] this is especially important for…mountain trout [i.e., salmonid] populations. Riparian buffers provide valuable habitat for wildlife. In addition to providing food and cover they are an important corridor or travel [path]way[s] for a variety of wildlife. Forested streamsides benefit game species [e.g., deer and bear]…and nongame species like migratory songbirds. Riparian vegetation slows floodwaters, thereby helping to maintain stable streambanks and protect downstream property. By slowing down floodwaters and rainwater runoff, the riparian vegetation allows water to soak into the ground and recharge groundwater. Slowing floodwaters allows the riparian zone to function as a site of sediment deposition, trapping sediments that build stream banks and would otherwise degrade our streams and rivers. [http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/programs/extension/wqg/sri/riparian5.pdf Accessed 6 July 2015.] The critical nature of riparian areas to a properly functioning stream cannot be overstated. As Tschaplinski and Pike (2009), in their analysis of the function of riparian areas to British Columbia streams, point out “No other landscape features within forests provide linkages that are as extensive and complex as those provided by riparian ecotones.” Tschaplinski and Pike (2009) go further to indicate that riparian areas contain and support many of the highest-value resources in natural forests and quote Hartman and Scrivener (1990) as evidence. In another citation, Gregory et al. (1991) indicate that the plant and animal communities in riparian areas frequently have the highest species richness found in forests. The issues relating to riparian areas are particularly relevant to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) as many of the streams crossed by the pipeline construction are typical of the watercourses that Tschaplinski and Pike (2009) and others refer to in respect to the importance of the role of riparian vegetation and the zone as fish habitat. And riparian areas are key habitats that TMEP will destroy as a function of crossing the streams where trenching will take place.See the full PDF:Ripariandefinition-_IR_From_Salmon_River_Enhancement_Society_to_Pipeup_-_A4Q7W6_SRES_RESPONSE_compressed_-_A4R4F2”