The Islands Trust has a new brochure for your perusal: the Gabriola Island Riparian Areas Regulation. It begins:
RIPARIAN AREAS are the areas bordering streams, lakes and wetlands that connect water to land. These areas support a diversity of plants and animals, provide important refuges and migration routes for birds and wildlife, and support fish life processes.
In addition, riparian areas play a key role in maintaining the natural hydrologic cycle of a watershed by stabilizing stream channels, reducing erosion, filtering impurities and sediment, capturing and storing runoff water and precipitation and recharging aquifers that store groundwater.
These areas are extremely sensitive to disturbances. Even modest changes in the amount and timing of water flow may result in significant changes to the physical and biological functioning of these ecosystems. [continue - pdf]
See also: Gabriola Island Riparian Area Regulation Stream Identification – Final Report, Madrone Environmental Services Ltd. (pdf) on the Islands Trust website.