Voluntary Riparian Program Background

The Riparian Program

Benton County has long understood the importance of supporting protection of stream sides, riparian areas and properties. Our efforts include:

  • Updating floodplain maps and building code to comply with current FEMA rules
  • Supporting water quality and managing storm water to ensure water quality improvement
  • Require building set-backs from streams and drainage ways 
  • Support outreach and education to enhance and protect streamside vegetation.
  • Protecting riparian and wetland areas is important to environmental and economic health of the County. Residents' value Riparian and Wetland area mapping and planning (see Comprehensive Plan) and requested that Benton County staff focus on the inventory and protection of riparian and associated wetland resources. 

The Riparian Program Background

Since 2009 Benton County has worked to inventory and evaluate priority riparian (streamside) corridors, while developing and implementing outreach and education to support protection and enhancement of riparian resources. 

  • Updated Inventory for Riparian Areas – thorough analyses of newly acquired map data (GIS, LiDAR), state and county stream and wetland maps, and other databases.
  • Determine Priority Riparian Areas – voluntary advisory groups composed of local residents, natural resources professionals, and others will work with county staff to shape the work of the project and evaluate significant riparian areas.
  • Protection of Priority Riparian Areas – Implement the Benton County Non-Regulatory Riparian Corridor Program, which includes monitoring of development within Priority Riparian Areas, outreach and education to streamside landowners, and partnerships with local organizations.
  • Implement Incentives to Enhance Riparian Areas – the County will work to establish partnerships with organizations, and other opportunities to connect willing landowners within the Priority Riparian Areas and other stream areas of Benton County to improve their riparian resources.

Riparian Buffers provide fish, wildlife, water quality and many other natural resources benefits to people and our environment.

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Mainstem Marys River
Upper Greasy Creek, native trees providing shade to stream