Creeks and rivers are complex, living systems vital to the health of our environment, our communities, and the qualities of our lives.
Because most streamside acreage is in private ownership, much of the responsibility for the life and health of our streams lies with you, the streamside resident or property owner. Proper management of your stream bank and its vegetation can prevent or minimize erosion, preserve water quality, contribute to the survival of the area's fish and wildlife, help avoid flood losses and protect property values.
Signs of a Healthy Creek
Cool, clear water with no smells, foam, or excessive algae.
Stable, gentle banks with deep-rooted plants to hold the soil.
Shade provided by healthy trees and shrubs, preferably native, to keep the water cool and to protect against erosion.
No litter, yard waste, or dumped material. Natural debris, such as logs, is okay.
Healthy populations of insect larvae in the creek; birds, insects, and other wildlife around it.
Natural meanders and a varied bottom of pools, riffles, clean gravel, and cobbles rather than fine sediment.
If a creek or river is part of your horse's habitat, establish a "crossing zone" separate from the vegetated banks and maintain the access with stones or gravel.
Plants Help In Many Ways
Plants provide food and habitat for wildlife and shade to keep the water cool, an essential for creek life. Native plants generally have deep roots that minimize erosion, and provide the varied habitat needed by local butterflies, birds, and other species. Your local Extension Office can help determine which plants are appropriate for your creekside. Some communities offer free plants for creek beds.