Often referred to as a green ribbon of life along streams and rivers, the riparian zone is the transitional area of land that connects the aquatic (wet) ecosystem to the drier uplands that are not reached by flood waters. Due to the regular presence of water and periodic flooding, riparian areas support a great variety of plant and animal species. As a result, they are among the most productive and valuable of all landscapes, especially in arid climates.
Riparian areas represent less than 1% of Utah land, yet are the most important and heavily used wildlife habitat in the region. 82% of all bird species in the Intermountain West are dependent on riparian habitat.
Healthy riparian areas are vital to the health of stream ecosystems and the entire watershed as well. Many of the threats to our urban streams are directly related to physical changes to these areas and loss of vegetation. Riparian zones provide the following important benefits:
Naturally occuring riparian plants in Salt Lake County include grasses, sedges, willows, dogwood, wild rose, sumac, birch, maple, cottonwood, and much more.