An Assessment of the Need for Protection and Restoration of Riparian Habitats in Georgia
Ambrose, Jonathan P.
MetadataShow full item record
Georgia is probably typical of most southeastern states in patterns of land use along streams and resulting impacts to riparian habitats. Land uses along streams vary with stream order, soil type, topography, demographic patterns, and other factors, but may include row crop production, silviculture, residential use, livestock production, recreation, and commercial/industrial development. Resulting impacts also vary greatly from region to region and site to site, but may include the following: loss of vegetative cover, erosive soil loss from streambanks, sedimentation of streams, and changes in flora and fauna of wetland, upland and aquatic habitats. Several different functional aspects of riparian zones have been elucidated in the scientific literature. These include: 1) riparian corridors as buffers for protection of water quality; 2) riparian corridors as regulators of interactions between aquatic and upland systems; and 3) riparian corridors as important wildlife habitat. The need for protection and/or restoration of riparian systems follows from all of these attributes. However, it is important to realize that, in order to be effective, riparian restoration and protection efforts should be planned within the context of an overall strategy for watershed protection. Regional differences in land use patterns and resulting impacts should be examined in developing such strategies.