What’s a riparian buffer?

Riparian buffers are wide swaths of vegetation planted along rivers and lakes to help filter chemicals from surface run-off. Our buffers were planted when the fields next to them were still being farmed for corn and soybeans. The tree roots of the buffer helped filter whatever chemicals the farmers were using before they hit the Cedar River. At only a few acres at a time, it’s a drop in the bucket, you might say, but it’s something. If more farmers would use them, Iowa’s rivers would be in much better shape.

Here’s a great photo from Story County, IA of a mature buffer strip.

Here’s what our strip looks like in the fall.

small fall riparian

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