Restore a Ribbon of Life

The strip of moisture loving trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants along the edge of a lake, river, wetland, or other watery habitat is called the buffer zone. This ribbon of life enhances the beauty of the shoreline; shades and prevents the heating of water, which can kill aquatic creatures; protects water quality by filtering the run-off of pollutants like fertilizers and pesticides from land; controls soil erosion, which muddies streams and ruins fish spawning habitat; and provides food, cover, and nesting sites for a rich variety of life forms on land and in water.

The wider the strip (and the lusher, more diverse, and deeply rooted its vegetation), the greater its ability to work as a buffer and life-support system. Chances are logging, construction, agriculture, or other activities have damaged one of these areas in your community. Here’s how you can help revitalize a ribbon of life:

If possible, water during droughts and weed out competing vegetation in the first few years.