Riparian Areas of the Great Basin
A Management Guide for Landowners
Though they represent only a small percentage of the land in the western United States and the world over, riparian areas provide essential habitat for many wildlife species. In the Great Basin, riparian areas represent an oasis of biodiversity within a vast sea of arid uplands. However, human land-use practices in the Great Basin have disturbed large tracts of land. As a result of these disturbances, degradation of both riparian and upland areas has become a major concern for natural resources managers and landowners.
The conservation and restoration of Great Basin lands is an urgent environmental issue, particularly in its highly productive and valuable riparian areas. If restoration is not intensive and immediate, the damaged condition of riparian areas will continue to impact both landowners and wildlife. In order to protect riparian wildlife habitat, native plant communities must be restored and watersheds protected. The resultant healthy, native ecosystems will be better able to withstand drought conditions that lead to dry vegetation, decreased availability of water, and increased susceptibility to fires.