• SECTION 10

    Riparian Health Check

Being able to assess the health of your riparian land is a useful management tool.

Rivers of Carbon have developed a DIY Stream Condition checklist that uses photographs and explanations to describe what riparian areas in poor, moderate and good condition look like.

Download the FREE Stream Condition checklist here

You can also carry out a quick, visual assessment of the five main indicators of riparian health using the photos below as a guide.

1. Is the vegetation growing in three distinct layers?

Good

Three layers of vegetation of vegetation are visible,: the groundcover (reeds and grasses), midstorey (shrubs) and canopy (tall trees).
Photo: Siwan Lovett.

Improving

This riparian area boasts a healthy mix of groundcover plants and tall trees. The midstorey is returning after many years of uncontrolled grazing.
Photo: Stuart Naylor.

Poor

Other than grass, there is no native groundcover, the midstorey is absent and the few trees that make up the canopy are in poor condition.
Photo: Stuart Naylor.

2. How much habitat is there for wildlife, and is it continuous or fragmented?

Good

Native vegetation is extensive, and runs in a corridor either side of the waterway.
Photo: Lori Gould.

Improving

Habitat does not yet form a continuous link, due to the lack of groundcover and midstorey plants. Photo: Sharman Darnell.

Poor

Sparse vegetation in this recently fenced-off site provides little food or protection for native animals. Revegetation is recommended.
Photo: Stuart Naylor.

3. Is most of the vegetation indigenous to your area, or at least native to Australia?

Good

A diverse mix of indigenous and native species, especially in the midstorey.
Photo: Siwan Lovett.

Improving

Groundcover contains some exotic pasture.
Photo: Sharman Darnell.

Poor

Exotic species (mainly willows)  dominate.
Photo: Haydn Burgess.

4. Is there a lot of plant debris on the ground and in the water?

Good

Branches are allowed to remain where they fall, and more than 80% of the ground is covered with debris and leaf litter.
Photo: Margie Fitzpatrick.

Improving

Dead branches have been placed in this newly-restored wetland, and litter and debris are beginning to accumulate.
Photo: Jillian Staton.

Poor

A ‘tidy’ riparian landscape with little in the way of litter or debris.
Photo: Haydn Burgess.

5. Are native plants spreading and self-seeding naturally?

Good

Native plants are flourishing in this swampy meadow.
Photo: Richard Snashall.

Improving

The midstorey, is showing good signs of natural regrowth but the canopy is yet to regenerate
Photo: Mike Wagg.

Poor

Grazing is putting pressure on these trees, and is preventing seedlings from germinating.
Photo: Stuart Naylor.

Download a PDF copy of Section 10: Riparian Health Check.

Fill in the form below and we’ll send you a digital copy.

This website is a collaborative project between:

ARR-Collaborators-Water-NSW
ARRC-Logo-RoC
ARRC logo