Forested Riparian Buffer
Forested riparian buffers protect wildlife habitat, water quality. Photo courtesy USDA NRCS.
Birdseye view of an agricultural landscape with riparian forest buffers and other types of conservation buffers. Photo courtesy USDA NRCS.
Newly planted trees (in tubes) along a stream. Photo courtesy USDA NRCS.
Forested riparian buffers are linear multiple-row plantings of trees, shrubs and grass designed primarily for water quality and wildlife habitat purposes. They are planted strategically along rivers, streams, lakes and some wetlands to prevent potential pollutants in agricultural runoff (sediment, nutrients, pesticides, pathogens) from reaching surface waters.
In Minnesota, forested buffers are best suited for landscapes that were originally forested or wooded, as opposed to prairie landscapes. The width, layout and plant composition of forested riparian buffers vary depending on floodplain characteristics, landowner goals and conservation program requirements. In Minnesota, forested riparian buffers are at least 35 feet wide but range up to 100 feet or wider for water quality purposes and up to 600 feet wide for wildlife habitat purposes.
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Guidance from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
National Agroforestry Center publications
See contacts for specific programs that fund this practice in the side-by-side payment comparison or contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District