A new organization, called the Utah Riparian Management Coalition, has been formed to increase public awareness and interest in the strip of green vegetation that grows along streams, rivers and lakes and which harbors a diversity of plants and animals.
The coalition is made up of representatives from the agricultural community, conservationists and wildlife groups and state and federal agencies.Tom Bingham, of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, who is chairman of the new group, said its purpose is "to provide a forum for discussion and consideration of the impacts of riparian zone management on all uses and to encourage the use and coordinated management of riparian areas in Utah."
Members of the coalition said riparian areas produce many values including wildlife and fisheries habitat, recreation, livestock forage, water quality, watershed protection and aesthetic values.
"In an arid state like Utah, proper management, use and protection of riparian areas is necessary to perpetuate those values," said Gary Macfarlane, a coalition member.
In addition to the Utah Farm Bureau, members of the Utah Riparian Management Coalition include representatives from the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Soil Conservation Service, Utah State University's Range Science Department, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the Utah Department of Agriculture's Environmental Quality Division.
Other members include representatives of the Utah Wilderness Association, Utah Audubon Society, Utah Wildlife Leadership Coalition, Utah Wildlife Federation, Utah Cattlemen's Association, Utah Wool Growers and the Utah Association of Conservation Districts.