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Riparian Buffer Restoration & Assessment

Riparian systems are vegetated areas next to streams or other water bodies that provide multiple benefits including improving water quality and creating habitat for fish and wildlife. The objective of this program is to support and educate decision makers statewide in their efforts to restore and protect riparian areas and floodplains. More specifically, we seek to:

  1. Promote dialog and develop understanding, tools, and approaches that:
  • promote the multiple benefits of riparian areas in NYS in the face of climate change including; habitat improvement, water quality improvement or protections, and flood risk reduction
  • while promoting equitable access to those benefit in NYS.
  1. Support the work and objectives of NYS basin programs including those in the HREP and Great Lakes Program.

Check out WRI's riparian buffer work in partnership with HREP staff and the statewide Trees for Tribs Program.

Research Goals

Fund and participate in projects that:

  • Promote our DEI/EJ goals outlined below
  • Explore the benefits and ways of knowing about riparian systems from multiple perspectives, including Traditional Ecological Knowledge
  • Seek to understand and reduce the barriers to implementation of riparian protection and restoration efforts,
  • Assess and develop tools for riparian protection and restoration

Outreach Goals

Fund and participate in projects that:

  • Promote our DEI/EJ goals outlined below
  • Provide materials, tools, and trainings for groups that are looking to protect or restore riparian areas that help promote the benefits of riparian areas, prioritize where to site projects based on biophysical and socioeconomic goals, and promote protection and restoration through municipal actions
  • Promote coordination and networking throughout NYS of practitioners working to protect and restore riparian areas. This could take the form of an advisory group, working group, or focus groups.
  • Also see Program: Riparian Buffer Revegetation (Hudson Estuary Trees for Tribs)

Diversity Equity Inclusion/ Environmental Justice

  • Understand and promote equitable distribution of the benefits of riparian areas in NYS.
  • Analyze trends in green gentrification resulting from green infrstructure projects, including riparian efforts. Where possible develop and promote tools and approaches that would reduce the impacts of green gentrification on marginalized communities.
  • Develop and promote equitable community engagement in the planning process for riparian restoration and protection efforts.

Select Projects

Stream Buffer Workshop for Municipalities

Riparian buffers are a powerful tool to reduce nutrient and sediment input to downstream water bodies and to protect streams in the face of climate and landscape change. But getting to scale with implementation is going to take a coordinated effort. In light of this, NYS WRI co-hosted a workshop on stream buffers for municipalities in Tompkins County. It focused on both planning and implementation of buffers at municipal, watershed, and site scales. The collected resources and the slides and videos of presentations and panels, compiled on the website, can be useful to many other NYS municipalities.

Panel speakers--Lydia Brinkley of the Upper Susquehanna Coalition, Angel Hinickle of the Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Scott Doyle of Tompkins County Planning and Sustainability--at the Riparian Buffer workshop.