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WWRC 86-05l
Hydrologic Impacts In Riparian Zones


One dictionary defines riparian as "pertaining to, situated or dwelling on the bank of a river or other body of water." Working definitions have typically relied on plant assemblages that reflect significant water requirements to indicate riparian areas. A riparian zone is dependent, implicitly or explicitly, on the presence of water which is accessible to vegetation. This requirement for water suggests the very strong inter-relationship that exist between the hydrologic character of a stream system and the adjoining riparian areas.

Within this article inter-relationships between hydrologic features of the stream-riparian system will be conceptually reviewed. Significant hydrologic features will first be identified. Then their relationship to the riparian zone will be considered in light of a cycle of riparian zone degradation and regeneration. Finally, the impact of several hydrologic tools for managing riparian areas will be discussed.

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