Riparian areas are defined as the strip of land bordering a stream, lake or wetland, plus the zone influencing this area (5). Riparian habitats also include springs, seeps, and intermittent streams, and many low elevation alluvial floodplains confined by valleys and inlets. (11) The riparian area can vary in width but primarily it functions as a transition zone between the edge of the water and the uplands. Riparian habitats are shaped and maintained through seasonal flooding, scour, and soil deposition. Riparian habitats vary from sparsely vegetated areas to cottonwood gallery forests (bottomland forests). Plant composition is influenced by elevation, stream gradient, floodplain width, and flooding events (5). Floods replenish nutrients, recharge groundwater, and reset successional processes. Throughout most of the state, riparian vegetation is mostly dominated by deciduous trees and shrubs, but conifers dominate riparian woodlands at higher elevations (10).


Riparian vegetation includes the trees and shrubs below or combinations of them:

Western red cedar Grand fir
Black cottonwood White alder
Red alder Big-leaf maple
Oregon ash Bitter cherry
Arroyo willow Pacific willow
Garry oak Pacific dogwood
Vine maple Currants
Swamp rose or Cluster rose Snowberry
Douglas spirea Blackberries
Raspberries Thimbleberry
Salmonberry Indian Plum
Osoberry Twinberry
Red-osier dogwood Willows


Porcupine Long tailed weasel
Skunk Northern river otter
Bobcat Black-tailed deer
Red tailed hawk Sharpshin hawk
Mourning dove Belted kingfisher
Northern flicker Willow flycatcher
Swainsons thrush Red eyed vireo
Many warblers Western tanager
Neo-tropical migrant songbirds pass through and some nest in riparian forests. (9)