Reconnecting main river channels to wetlands, smaller side channels, ponds and floodplain areas cut off by dikes, levees or rip rap restores many critical functions that can help reduce harmful erosion and flooding. These areas increase the water storage capacity of the river which slows the river down during higher flows, reducing potential for property damage, greening stream corridors and recharging groundwater.
Wetlands, side channels, ponds and other wet areas off the main river channel are areas baby salmon and steelhead need to grow, feed, and avoid predators before heading out to salt water. These areas also provide important habitat for many varieties of birds, animals and plants.
Wetlands are essentially giant sponges, soaking up excess water during storms, and allowing it to soak into the groundwater. During summer months, water in our streams is cooled by groundwater that is slowly released into the channel.
Wetlands serve as filters for stream systems, breaking down pollutants and holding sediments deposited by rivers and streams during storms and high water.