Riparian Buffers

These are the areas immediately along our rivers and streams and surrounding our wetlands, from 75 to 250 feet wide.  When in a natural condition (grasses, bushes, and trees) they play a major role in keeping water clean through filtration. Riparian buffers also store water for slower release, reduce flooding, shade rivers to cool water temperatures keeping oxygen levels high, and provide excellent habitat for birds, mammals, and fish.

The GWRLT service area – 6 towns – contain 8,474 acres of riparian buffer. A recent analysis completed for the Strategic Conservation Plan showed that 407 acres (5%) have already been developed and another 424 acres (5%) have been impaired enough to possibly not be functional. 914 acres (11%) have been protected. That leaves 6,729 acres (79%) vulnerable to land use changes that will impair water quality. With all the rivers within the service area already on Maine Department of Protections’ “Rivers at Risk from Development” list, it is clear there is much to do. Over the next year the Trust will be stepping up its efforts to support landowners who own riparian buffer lands so they can continue to provide the clean water on which we all depend.