Land next to a stream or river that is vegetated, usually with trees and shrubs, that serves as a protective filter for streams. A buffer helps to stabilize stream banks from washing away and to reduce the impact of upland sources of pollution by trapping, filtering, and converting sediments, nutrients, and other chemicals. In addition, a buffer helps supply food, cover, and thermal protection to fish and other wildlife. Riparian buffers can be 300 feet wide or 20 feet wide; it depends on the stream and the land around the stream.
Glossary of Watershed Terms. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2017, from http://www.coastalrcd.org/zone9/factsheets/glossary.html