The Importance of Vegetation Along Waterways

Native vegetation along banks plays a very important role in:

  • the lifecycle of many native animals
  • improves productivity of surrounding land
  • decreased erosion
  • improved water quality
  • healthy ecosystems and restored biodiversity
  • reduced flood damage
  • increased property value
  • food source for native animals and refuge during times of drought and fire
  • improved soil fertility
  • sediment control and filtration of nutrients

The land that adjoins, or directly influences a body of water is also known as riparian land and includes:

  • land immediately alongside small creeks and rivers, including the river bank itself
  • gullies and dips which sometimes run with water
  • areas surrounding lakes and dams
  • wetlands and river floodplains which interact with the river in times of flood

The vegetation that grows in this area is called Riparian Vegetation and is also known as a Riparian Corridor.  These vegetated corridors act as the 'skin' that provides protection to a waterway, acting as a buffer between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and maintaining the health and viability of the waterway, by:

  • holding bank soil in place and reducing the risk of bed and bank erosion
  • filtering sediments and nutrients from surface run-off and groundwater
  • regulating water temperature
  • providing shade, shelter and organic matter for aquatic organisms, and
  • 'shading out' exotic weed species

Riparian corridors are also an important socio-economic asset, providing an integral link between suburbs, supporting people movement, offering recreational opportunities and improving the visual amenity of the surrounding area.

Additional Resources