Riparian Habitat

90 Riparian Habitat

Riparian plant life provides the interface between the land and a waterway, such as a river, creek, stream, gully or lake. Riparian plants include trees, shrubs, and grasses. These ecosystems host a greater diversity of plants and animals than other environments and are an important source of life considered vital to the long-term sustainability of a catchment system.

The City of Gold Coast notes more than 1,730 native plant species in our area, which makes it one of the most biodiverse cities in Australia. More than 90 native plant species have been identified along the 500m-long Toc Toc trail.

Riparian plant species found along creeks and rivers are often quite different to the surrounding vegetation because of the additional moisture and nutrients. These areas provide critical habitat and corridors for native wildlife. Because much of the Gold Coast’s riparian vegetation has been cleared for farming or residential purposes, protecting what remains and restoring degraded and cleared riparian vegetation is essential for the survival of many native plant and wildlife species.

Benefits of a healthy, diverse riparian plant life include:

  • Habitat for beneficial insects and wildlife

  • Tree roots that stabilise the streambank

  • Water flow retained within the stream

  • Sediment and soil debris are trapped by vegetation and roots

  • Shading from trees and other plants cools the water, which protects in-stream plants and animals and prevents growth of weeds and algae