Riparian zones are the areas of land bordering streams and rivers, forming the transition area between aquatic and terrestrial systems. When riparian areas are intact and filled with trees, shrubs, grasses, and/or other vegetation, they act as buffers, protecting the river from the adverse effects of adjacent and nearby land use. Healthy riparian zones can capture and filter sediment, excess nutrients, and pollution from surface runoff. They can provide temperature regulation through shading to keep water cool. Plant roots hold the sponge-like soils in place providing bank stability and preventing erosion, and those soils can soak up and store excess water to reduce flooding during high flows and then release it slowly during periods of low flow. Riparian zones also offer habitat for a diverse community of plants and animals and provide critical inputs for the aquatic food web in the form of leaves, and other organic materials that drop from the vegetation into the water.