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Riparian areas or zones are the areas of vegetation directly separating land from water. Vegetation in riparian areas typically consists of various emergent aquatic plants, as well as grasseses, sedges, and shrubs that thrive in close proximity to water.

Research has shown that riparian ecosystems are vital to the health of all other aquatic ecosystems as they filter out pollutants form land runoff, prevent erosion, and provide shelter and food for many aquatic animals.