Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 2010


ABSTRACT Riparian buffer zones are important sites of biodiversity, sediment trapping, pollutant removal, and hydrologic regulation that have significant implications for both people and wildlife. Urbanization’s influence on and need for adequate water quality increases the need for careful planning in regards to riparian areas. Wildlife are key components in the ecosystem functions of riparian zones and require consideration in peri-urban planning as well. This study reviews relevant literature to determine the recommended minimum riparian buffer width for maintaining water quality and habitat along Stevens Creek in Lincoln, Nebraska. Only sources that listed a specific purpose related to water quality and habitat for their buffer width recommendations were considered. The study found that the baseline buffer width recommended for Stevens Creek that would be adequate for both water quality maintenance and basic habitat is 50 ft (15 m) per side. This number may be modified based on other factors such as slope, soil particle size, adjacent land use, the presence of certain wildlife communities, stream size, and stream order.