Wetlands Ecosystem Study Unit

Riparian Buffers

Why should we maintain or restore a riparian buffer?

farm drain

Vocabulary to Master:

Riparian buffer, habitat, ecosystem, aquifer, watershed, wetland, estuary, marsh, bog, erosion, filter, groundwater,
runoff, pollution, soil, hydrologist.

blue arrow Watch - Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In - online video

blue arrow Read: Bountiful Benefits of Wetland Buffers | Riparian Buffers Provide Numerous Benefits

Do: Nonpoint Source Pollution Awareness - What's Wrong with This Picture?

blue arrow Evaluate - How well does your school or a local park manage runoff?

1. What observations can you make to gauge the effectiveness of the efforts?

2. Scientists are organized when they make observations. Develop an observation form.

3. Make your observations - Scientists collect data over time with repeated observations. In doing this, they strive to avoid an incorrect assessment that is based on a one time event.

camera Visual evidence can be very compelling. Collect some by taking digital photos or videotaping the runoff.

4. Examine you collected data. Conclude - Are the school's or parks' efforts effective?

5. Based on your findings - What should be done?

6. If you have identified a need for action - Develop a plan of action. Consider establishing a rain garden.

7. Present the plan to your Principal - PTO - School Board - Community Park Board. (Digital Science Journal)


Further thinking:

blue arrow Identify a riparian area in your community. Assess its biodiversity and viability.

blue arrow Your community is excited about the proposed shopping center. The builder has purchased an "empty" tract of land next to a stream. The project is being promoted because it will mean new jobs and more shopping choices. Local environmentalists are concerned about the impact of the development on the stream. Write a letter to the editor or a speech to be delivered at a public meeting that advocates for the preservation of a riparian buffer between the shopping center and the stream. Use lots of facts to bolster your argument.

blue arrow Examine a Community Development Project - problem based learning

blue arrow Green mapping - Identify and map riparian buffers in your community

blue arrow Map and inventory a local wetland

blue arrow Make a VE video about the issue. (VE Rating - Very educational making a strong use of data and critical thinking skills.)

Excellent examples: Requiem for the Honeybee from Charles Greene CSPAN Student Cam project

Down to the Last DROP from Madison Richards CSPAN Student Cam project

blue arrow Why are wetlands important?

blue arrow Stream Biology and Ecology

cattails Wetlands: Habitat / Mammals / Birds / Macrovertebrates - Aquatic Insects / Plants & trees / Amphibians / Conclusions

Food Web Relationships / Wetland Ecology Vocabulary Exercise / Life Cycles / Mammal Morphology: compare - contrast

Bats are our Buddies / Amphibians Internet Activity / Riparian Buffers - investigate / Wetland Ecology Dilemmas

Eagles Evaluation / Lentic or Lotic ecosystem? / Stream Assessment form.

Citizen Science Projects - collect some data / Collecting data pdf. - doc. / Digital Science Journal

Wetland Poem Project / Wetland or Frog Song activity / Wetland Photos

Water & Watershed Studies / Water Wars / Environmental/Energy Issue Video Project


Nature / Milkweed & Monarch Butterfly Mania / Bluebirds Project / Best Treat of All / Fields, Fencerows & Meadows

Internet Hunts / Plants and People / School Habitat Garden Project / Puzzles & Projects / Pennsylvania Projects / Site map / Home

posted by Cindy O'Hora, 1/2009
In honor of Marjorie Harris Carr life work in preserving habitats and ecology released to be freely used by not for profit agencies and schools

tree icon Save a tree - use a digital answer format - Highlight the text. Copy it. Paste it in a word processing document. Save the document in your folder. Answer on the wp document in an easily read, contrasting color or font. (No yellow, avoid fancy fonts like: Symbols, broad font, dear font) Then record the answer immediately after it. Save regularly. Proof your responses. It is funny how speling errors and typeos sneak in to the bets work. smiling icon Make your own printer paper answer sheet