Stream health and water quality are major concerns in the Pacific Northwest and increased regulation pertaining to affected waterways is likely to occur due to clean water and salmon issues. An integral component of all stewardship plans conducted in disturbed watersheds includes the establishment of preferred vegetation in riparian buffers. Arthropod and vegetation surveys have been conducted over three years (2001, 2002, & 2003) in representative riparian buffers directly adjacent to apple orchards and grape vineyards in the Lower Yakima Valley near Prosser, Benton County, WA. Our results document that haphazard establishment and poor maintenance of vegetation in riparian buffers results in increased populations of pest arthropods including Lygus spp. and Frankliniella occidentalis. These pests are more abundant with exotic species of flowering plants that typically persist in degraded riparian buffers. Conversely, problematic species of arthropods occur in lower population abundance in pristine or properly rehabilitated and maintained riparian buffers that consist of woody perennials and native bunch grasses. Concurrently, our data indicate that populations of beneficial arthropods including spiders and carabid beetles increase by the greater food resources available in degraded buffers that consist primarily of exotic flowering plant species.
Species 1: Heteroptera Miridae Lygus (lygus bug)
Species 2: Thysanoptera Thripidae Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips)
Keywords: riparian buffers
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