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Written by Mindy Pratt, Utah State University
The term “riparian” is defined as vegetation, habitats, or ecosystems that are associated with bodies of water (streams or lakes)) or are dependent on the existence of perennial, intermittent, or ephemeral surface or subsurface water drainage.
Put more simply, riparian areas are the green ribbons of trees, shrubs, and grasses growing along water-courses. For example, the cottonwood groves where we like to picnic along sandy river beds, the green, shady areas next to the stream where we like to fish, and the stream edges with tadpoles and dragonflies are among the riparian features we enjoy.