One of the reasons of continued failure to improve riparian management on agricultural lands has been our traditional “no touch” approach to creating riparian zones. Farmers in Washington State face high-risk and low profit margins, so losing productive land to these no touch buffers is not usually an economically feasible option. We must figure out how to improve fish habitat and water quality while increasing agricultural viability at the same time. One way to provide increased buffering functions on agricultural land is by integrating well-designed agroforestry and runoff management practices near water. This “working buffers” approach offers the middle ground.
This project is supported by an Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2011-68005-30407 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).