Fish Grow on Trees

tree-lined stream

Some of Vermont’s most productive and beautiful streams are lined by forest. Trees and shrubs along the areas bordering streams, lakes and wetlands benefit wildlife and people. That is why the Vermont Fish & Wildlife biologists work to protect and enhance these areas, also known as riparian areas.

Trees = Healthy Riparian Areasstream with good riparian area

  • Trees improve water quality by reducing the amount of stormwater entering streams, filtering runoff and pollutants, and providing shade that cools the water.
  • Trees help stabilize stream banks and decreases erosion hazards.
  • Trees that fall into streams and rivers provide food and shelter for fish and other aquatic species, trap sediment and slow down the flow of water during floods.

Why are Riparian Areas Important?

Rivers are dynamic – they naturally flood, change course, and erode their banks.  A healthy riparian area acts as a buffer to changes in weather, temperature, flooding, and pollution. They are resilient to extreme events, which is critical to reducing flood damage and enhancing fish and wildlife survival.

VT Fish & Wildlife’s Efforts to Improve Riparian Areas  and Aquatic Habitat

Fisheries staff work with a variety of state, federal and private natural resource agencies as well as angler and watershed organizations to identify projects to improve aquatic habitat.

How You Can Help

  • Waterfront landowners can help improve the health of their watercourse by protecting their riparian area. A 100-foot wide forested riparian area protects the land, improves water quality and benefits fish and wildlife.
  • Avoid removing trees from the riparian area. Protecting the riparian area is easier than restoring it.women planting a tree
  • If trees have been removed, allow natural revegetation to take its course or re-establish the riparian area by planting native trees.
  • Get your neighbors involved for a greater impact. The actions you take to protect your riparian area also benefit your neighbors downstream. It will take all of us working cooperatively in our communities to keep riparian areas healthy.

See also:

Contact Us

Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife
Commissioner Christopher Herrick

1 National Life Drive
Fish & Wildlife LogoDavis 2
Montpelier, VT 05620-3702

Staff Directory

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The mission of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is the conservation of all species of fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the people of Vermont.