By Alex Nagy, Ontario Streams Volunteer
A riparian zone is the land bordering a stream, river, lake or other type of surface water. These
important ecosystems are typically dominated by diverse water-loving plants. Riparian zones act as a buffer separating human activity from sensitive aquatic ecosystems. The protection of the riparian zones in urban areas is of utmost importance in part because the land separating the streams from recreational and urban development areas is shrinking. This increased development causes stream bank erosion, increases the potential to introduce non-native species and increases sun exposure which warms the water thereby reducing oxygen levels. Planting native trees and shrubs is a restoration tool used to combat these issues. Stream plantings reduce erosion by stabilizing the soils on stream banks, increases resiliency preventing invasive species from establishing, provides shade which keeps streams cool as well as food and habitat.
By: Allison Hands & Bethany Kempster, BEAN Co-Chairs
When you hear the word “biodiversity” does your mind conjure images of lush rainforests or tropical coral reefs? What about your own backyard? Would you be surprised to learn that Ontario is home to 30,000 known species of plants and animals? Biodiversity supports the natural systems which we rely on - getting to know what lives in Ontario is the first step to understanding and protecting it. Getting outdoors and exploring biodiversity doesn’t have to be hard! Check out these easy to-do backyard activities