The Kansas Riparian Work Group is a group of natural resource professionals dedicated to improving the management of river and stream corridors in the state of Kansas
Mission Statement: “To provide a forum for Natural Resource Professionals and Organizations to develop criteria for the identification of healthy riparian and wetland areas for Kansas eco-regions”.
RIPARIAN AREAS are ecosystems that occur adjacent to watercourses or water bodies. They are distinctly different from the surrounding landscape because of unique soil and vegetation characteristics that are strongly influenced by free or unbound water in the soil.
Where Do Trees Belong In Kansas?
This is a question that often comes up among environmental colleagues and the Kansas Riparian Work Group is trying to answer that very question. With Kansas being historically a prairie State we know trees were NOT universally prevalent across the state. When examining historical records it is clear that most of our
perennial streams and rivers were lined with trees. Foresters at Kansas State University conducted a study of streambank erosion (where) after the 1993 floods that showed clearly how important trees were along the river in reducing streambank erosion. The reaches of river bank lined with a forest buffer actually gained bank, while river banks lined with cropland lost an average of 150'. Though history can tell us about what the l
andscape once looked like, the most
important question is what should the riparian landscape look like now and in the future? Should intermittent and seasonal stream reaches be lined with trees? Are riparian gallery forests the only tree community that offers properly functioning riparian protection? How do the riparian zone plant communities differ across the state from East to West? Riparian zones are important areas within the landscape but there are lots of questions left to answer.
"We Must Let the River Teach Us" Luna Leopold