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WWRC 86-05f
Riparian Management Responsibilities and Activities in the Rocky Mountain Region of the Forest Service


Concern for riparian areas and the values they represent in the Forest Service goes back many years, yet there has been a recent surge in interest We certainly know more about riparian areas now than we once did, although there are still some missing pieces to the puzzle.

The Forest Service has recognized that we need to know more about the ecology and management of riparian areas, as exemplified by the number of recent symposia and workshops we have helped sponsor in recent years.

Riparian areas are highly valuable for range forage potential, wildlife habitat, fishery potential, watershed protection, and recreation. In many cases, a riparian area will have higher potential for these uses than an adjacent upland area of the same size. Riparian areas are where the interactions (some would say conflicts) between uses seems to be strongest The policy of the Forest Service requires that range, watershed, and wildlife improvement programs give high priority to restoration of riparian areas. This policy requires that we:

  1. recognize the importance and distinctive value of riparian areas during the land management process,
  2. recognize the importance and distinctive value of riparian areas when implementing management activities,
  3. manage riparian areas undo the principles of multiple use and sustained yield, while emphasizing protection of soil, water, vegetation, and fish and wildlife resources, and
  4. delineate and evaluate riparian areas prior to implementing any project activity (Peterson 1983).

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