River banks are ecologically rich places as they’re the meeting point between land and water. They provide habitat and food for land and water creatures like platypus, frogs and turtles. They filter out pollutants to keep water clean, and trees along the river bank provide shade to keep the water cool for fish and waterbugs. The trees drop branches into the river that provide homes for native fish like the Murray cod.
Rivers are also natural connectors of the landscape. A river with intact vegetation along its banks creates a wildlife corridor or biolink that allows animals to disperse and migrate and provides a seedbank for plants.
As native vegetation is cleared and remaining patches are increasingly isolated and fragmented, this connecting role is becoming even more important. And climate change adds a new urgency: as conditions change animals and plants need to be able to migrate to adapt. River corridors provide the pathway for them to do this.