DRAFT Riparian Ecosystems, Volume 2: Management Recommendations (2018)

Category: Management Recommendations

Published: May 2018


Author(s): Amy Windrope, Timothy Quinn, Keith Folkerts, and Terra Rentz

Public Comments

This volume is a manual for local governments and other stakeholders who want to use the best available science in policies, plans, and regulations designed to conserve riparian ecosystems and surrounding watersheds for the protection of fish and wildlife, particularly salmon species.

The science in this document is based on Riparian Ecosystems, Volume 1: Science Synthesis and Management Implications.We are not seeking review of Volume 1; it is provided so reviewers of Volume 2 may better understand the underpinnings of our recommendations.

The department aims to provide a transparent forum for the public to comment on these management recommendations to improve the overall effectiveness of this resource. The department will consider environmental values along with economic and technical considerations.

The 60-day public comment period ended Friday, August 17, 2018.


This Priority Habitats and Species (PHS) document of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is provided in support of the agency's mission to protect fish and wildlife -- public resources the agency is charged with managing and perpetuating. WDFW works cooperatively with land use decision makers and landowners to facilitate land use solutions that accommodate local needs and needs of fish and wildlife. WDFW's role in land use decision making is that of technical advisor: we provide information about the habitat needs of fish and wildlife and the likely implications of various land use decisions for fish and wildlife.

The five chapters of Volume 2 are a partial update of an earlier document entitled Management Recommendations for Washington's Priority Habitats: Riparian (Knutson and Naef, 1997). This document, called Protecting Riparian Ecosystems, Volume 2: Management Recommendations is a partial update because it addresses only aquatic species. Riparian needs of terrestrial species will be updated later. Until the terrestrial species update is completed, readers can consult the 1997 document for information about riparian ecosystems and terrestrial species.

Priority Habitats are places that warrant special consideration for protection when land use decisions are made. To qualify as a "Priority Habitat" in WDFW's PHS program a habitat must provide unique or significant value to many species. It must meet at least one of the following criteria (WDFW, 2008):

  • Comparatively high fish and wildlife density
  • Comparatively high fish and wildlife species diversity
  • Important fish and wildlife breeding habitat
  • Important fish and wildlife seasonal ranges
  • Important fish and wildlife movement corridors
  • Limited availability
  • High vulnerability to habitat alteration
  • Unique or dependent species

Riparian areas meet all of these criteria. Because of the many important ecosystem services (hydrologic, geomorphic, and biological) riparian areas provide, they were among the first PHS Priority Habitats identified and described by WDFW.

The PHS program provides land use decision support to clients such as local governments, developers, agencies, tribes, and landowners. PHS consists of PHS List, PHS Maps, PHS Management Recommendations, Technical Assistance (available from our Regional Habitat Biologists), Customer Service, and the newest component PHS Adaptive Management Support.

This PHS riparian document compliments a family of PHS document including Landscape Planning For Washington's Wildlife: Managing for Biodiversity in Developing Areas and Land Use Planning for Salmon, Steelhead and Trout: A land use planner's guide to salmonid habitat protection and recovery available  on the PHS Management Recommendations page.

Suggested citation

Riparian Ecosystems, Volume 2: Management Recommendations. 2018. Amy Windrope, Timothy Quinn, Keith Folkerts, and Terra Rentz. A Priority Habitat and Species Document of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia.

Related documents