Utah's Riparian Areas


Are you ready to continue on your virtual camping trip with your family? Remember, you are escaping the heat of the city by heading to the Uintah mountains for the weekend. Well, there was a reason that you packed your fishing pole. You are planning on getting your big brother to do the gross stuff. You promised to do a weeks worth of his chores if he would put the worms on the hook for you. That means all you have to worry about is where the best fishin' spot is on the calm, cold waters of Mirror Lake.

Drag your mouse over the image at the left to view a video showing ducks in action.


Your lazy weekend includes finding a comfortable log and sitting back on the shore and just relaxing. So far on your virtual trip, you have only studied the land areas associated with biomes. It is time to take off your shoes and socks and dip your feet in the water. It is time to get your feet wet. 


Water is the lifeblood of the planet. Almost every living thing on Earth needs it for survival. The water that is found in biomes is called the "Riparian Environment." Wow, say that three times really fast! These aquatic environments are found on the highest mountain tops and the lowest valleys. They are the ponds, rivers, streams and "wetlands" in other biomes. 


There are many kinds of riparian environments found in Utah, and the plant and animal life vary with each system. It seems that everyone wants to live near one. Plants can get water more easily near the water, animals often come to these places to drink. The water is filled with plant and animal life such as algae, fish, frogs and water fowl. Even people want to live near water. They often pay a lot of money for property near lakes and rivers.


There are so many different types of water environments in Utah, that it would be difficult to list all of the plants and animals that live in water in the state. Unless, of course, you are talking about the Great Salt Lake. You probably know about the brine shrimp that thrives in the waters of the Great Salt, but does anything else live in the salty inland sea? Think about it. What do brine shrimp eat?


Answer the question above by doing some research using the Internet or other resources.




  1. List a plant or animal that begins with the letter "A" that lives on, in, or near the water. Next repeat the above step only use the letter "B". Continue through the alphabet following this same procedure.
  2. Using a two liter jar, make your own "Riparian" environment. Make sure you get an adult to help you.
  3. If you click on the frog to the left you will find a page all about these cute little creatures.
  4. By clicking on the beaver above, you can download a word search about wetland plants and animals.
  5. Find out about an unusual riparian environment that is found in an Asian country and make a poster describing it.


Clicking on any of the pictures below will take you to sites where you can find out more about riparian environments.

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Updated August 7, 2001 by: Glen Westbroek

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