Buffers Make Good Neighbors

A partnership between Futurewise and the Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group

Futurewise has teamed up with Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group (MCF) to promote policies and conduct targeted outreach that will help control urban stormwater runoff and prevent pollution from reaching the Columbia River.  This will be accomplished through a multipronged approach including recommending low-impact stormwater management practices, planting a riparian demonstration site near Chiawana Park, direct mailings to nearby property owners, social media, virtual open houses and events.  We are working with MCF, local tribes, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the City of Pasco, and community groups such as the Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society, to encourage the protection of existing native and riparian buffers and garner support for shoreline enhancement projects.    

Futurewise has a proven history of positively influencing urban growth in the Tri-Cities area through established local government processes. In addition to continuing to work on local land use policy, Futurewise will team with MCF on targeted outreach and education to homeowners with shoreline properties with potential for either riparian protection or enhancement.  

Land adjacent to rivers and streams are considered riparian.  Riparian buffers prevent erosion, slow and capture stormwater, and create habitat beneficial to salmon and other native species.  A backyard riparian buffer enhances fish and wildlife habitat, and is a beautiful addition to any landscape. Riparian buffers are the strips of grass, shrubs, and trees along the banks of rivers and streams. Buffers:

  • act as filters to trap pollutants and nutrients that would otherwise wash into our streams.
  • keep stream banks and streambeds stabilized, resulting in less flood damage.
  • provide shade, keeping water cooler. Salmon and trout can only live in cool water.
  • provide good homes and safe travel corridors for wildlife.

This project is funded by The Columbia River Fund, which supports non-profit organizations dedicated to protecting and restoring the Columbia River watershed, and honoring the historical uses of the watershed while preserving fish and wildlife so that the Columbia River watershed will be healthy and productive in perpetuity. The Fund was created by the Columbia Riverkeeper, and is funded through settlements of legal actions as part of the Columbia Riverkeeper’s Clean Water Act enforcement program.