CONTACT: Sarah Rockwell, Research Biologist, Klamath Bird Observatory
541-201-0866 ext. 6#, firstname.lastname@example.org
Riparian habitats are the interface between land and water. They include the vegetation – flowers, grass, shrubs, and trees – that occurs at the edge of bodies of water such as rivers and streams. In western Oregon alone, over 350 species of vertebrates regularly use riparian areas, making them one of the most wildlife-rich habitats in our region. These areas provide critical fish and wildlife habitat as well as ecosystem services, including natural flood buffers, water quality improvements, groundwater recharge, temperature moderation, and nutrient cycling. Unfortunately, many of our historical riparian habitats have been lost or degraded due to human impacts, such as flood control and development. An exciting opportunity exists for landowners and conservation partners to work together to restore native riparian ecosystems and their diverse wildlife communities.
Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) and Lomakatsi Restoration Project (Lomakatsi), with support from six other local partner organizations, have released a new guide for streamside landowners interested in implementing restoration projects to improve wildlife habitat and stream health. Restoring Riparian Habitats in Southern Oregon and Northern California: A Guide for Private Landowners includes information on birds and wildlife that use riparian habitats, detailed restoration guidelines, and who to contact for technical or financial help when initiating a project. In addition, the guide shows how to identify common riparian birds and use them to monitor restoration progress, and contains a visual guide to common native and non-native streamside plant species.
KBO Research Biologist and co-author Dr. Sarah Rockwell has studied bird response to riparian restoration at several sites in southern Oregon and northern California. She describes the new guide as being unique because it focuses on birds as a way to connect with streamside landowners and generate interest in habitat restoration. “Birds are beautiful and engaging creatures that are fun to watch. They are also useful as indicators of specific aspects of healthy riparian vegetation that are important for other wildlife – including fish – and overall stream health,” says Rockwell. She hopes the guide will get people excited about the birds and wildlife that use their riparian properties, help them understand the habitat needs of those species, and inspire them to take action.
Lomakatsi’s Riparian Restoration Manager and guide co-author Niki Del Pizzo has been leading streamside habitat restoration projects in and around the Rogue Basin for 15 years. She looks forward to sharing lessons learned with the community, and inspiring people to play a more active role in stewarding these important natural areas. “The way we care for the land along rivers and creeks has a big impact on the health of fish, birds and other wildlife,” says Del Pizzo. “This guide has many tips and best practices to help you make your streamside land, or land you help steward, thriving and resilient.”
Are you interested in learning more about streamside habitat or starting a riparian restoration project on your land? View or download the guide here.