Areas with three-dimensional ecotones of interaction that include terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. They extend down into the groundwater, up above the canopy, outward across the floodplain, up the near-slopes that drain to the water, laterally into the terrestrial ecosystem, and along the watercourse at a variable width.
Lands which are adjacent to rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and other water bodies. They are transitional between aquaticand upland zones, and as such, contain elements of both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. They have high water tables because of their close proximity to aquatic systems, soils which are usually made up largely of water-carried sediments, and some vegetation that requires free Unbound water or conditionsthat are more moist than normal.
Riparian areas are lands adjacent to streams, lakes, and estuarine-marine shorelines. Riparian areas are transitional between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, through which surface and subsurface hydrology connects waterbodies with their adjacent uplands. Riparian areas provide a variety of ecological functions and services and help improve or maintain local water quality.