A riparian forest is a wooded area of land adjacent to a body of water, such as a river, creek, lake, pond, canal or marshland. It forms a transition zone between the waterbody and the land environment. These trees, if managed properly, can help hold soil in place and keep nutrients such as nitrate and phosphorus from moving off the land and into the waterbody.
To provide farmers and other landowners information on managing riparian forests and woodlands, Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research Center and Conservation Learning Group, is hosting a free virtual field day at 1 p.m. May 14. The event includes video footage from a local riparian forest area and live interaction with Billy Beck, Iowa State University professor and Extension forestry specialist. Adam Janke, ISU professor and Extension wildlife specialist, will also be presenting.
Trees aid water quality
“Riparian forests are a powerful tool in Iowa’s water quality improvement and protection effort. However, they are often overlooked and underused by ag landowners,” Beck says. His research and Extension programming focuses on the impacts trees, woodlands and forests have on water quality and quantity in the Midwest. During the live event, Beck will highlight the water quality and flood mitigation benefits provided by healthy riparian forests, as well as offer tips for managing these areas to achieve maximum environmental and economic returns.
LEARN MORE: The virtual ILF field day will explain the benefits of riparian woodlands and provide viewers the chance to ask questions of speakers such as ISU’s Billy Beck.
“Riparian forests are critical for many of Iowa’s wildlife species,” Janke says. “I’m excited to bring the virtual field day into these areas to help viewers observe unique wildlife habitats, like dead trees, in-stream habitat and a great-blue heron rookery.”
Janke, whose research focuses on bird habitat in farmed Iowa landscapes, will highlight how wildlife use riparian areas in agricultural landscapes. He will lead a discussion on finding opportunity areas for wildlife conservation in working landscapes.
Join free webinar
Make plans to join the webinar and chat with Beck and Janke. To participate, shortly before 1 p.m. May 14, go online to iastate.zoom.us/s/315189792. Or call 312-626-6799 or 646-876-9923. Meeting ID is 315 189 792. The field day will be recorded and archived on the ILF website to be watched at any time. The archive is at iowalearningfarms.org/page/events.
A certified crop adviser board-approved continuing education unit has been applied for, for people who participate in the live webinar. Information on how to receive the credit (if approved) will be provided at the end of the May 14 field day.