Healthy riparian and wetland areas are critical to healthy watersheds. Wetlands support vegetation adapted to soils saturated by surface or ground water. Examples of wetlands include marshes, swamps, and bogs. Riparian areas serve as habitats and travel corridors for vegetative communities.
Riparian Proper Functioning Condition (PFC) describes assessing on-the-ground conditions of a riparian area. A healthy riparian area is resilient. PFC gauges a riparian area’s resiliency, or ability to hold together, during high stream flows. They are among the first landscape features to reflect damage from improper management or natural events, such as a flood or drought. Yet, water can also create opportunities for restoration and recovery including re-establishing native vegetation or improving fish and wildlife habitat. When riparian areas are not in PFC, they are not in a sustainable condition. To create a sustainable riparian area, cooperative restoration and management at a landscape level are key to bringing about desired conditions.