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Word of the Week: Riparian
May 02, 2018 by Sammy Tangir

Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each Wednesday to amp up your nature vocabulary!

The composition and size of riparian areas can vary greatly. This is a snapshot from May 2016 of Spring Creek in High Park: what are your observations of this riparian zone? (Photo credit: Andrew Yee)

Riparian [ri-PAIR-ee-uhn OR rahy-PAIR-ee-uhn] (adjective): Related to the area surrounding a stream or river.

Riparian areas are just as vital to their ecosystem as the streams they surround. Vegetation provides habitat, as well as an important buffer between the river and the surrounding land. Well-vegetated riparian areas help to prevent erosion, keep the river cool, and support diverse ecosystems. In Toronto, riparian areas have an especially important role in filtering out sediment. Pollutants such as road salt, gasoline, and pesticides flow through riparian areas and into seep streams during snow-melt or rain events. 

Some urban riparian areas are made of concrete, thus preventing vegetation from growing to its fullest. Click here for more about what the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is doing to restore our wetland habitats!

Sammy Tangir - Sammy is a serious nature nerd and especially enthusiastic about plants! When she is not thinking of next week's nature word, she is working as an outdoor educator and practicing her wood carving skills.

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