Riparian Proper Functioning Condition (PFC) describes assessing on-the-ground conditions of a riparian area.  A healthy riparian area is resilient.  PFC gauges a riparian area’s resiliency, or ability to hold together, during high stream flows.  They are among the first landscape features to reflect damage from improper management or natural events, such as a flood or drought. Yet, water can also create opportunities for restoration and recovery including re-establishing native vegetation or improving fish and wildlife habitat. When riparian areas are not in PFC, they are not in a sustainable condition. To create a sustainable riparian area, cooperative restoration and management at a landscape level are key to bringing about desired conditions in water on public lands.

Landscape-scale restoration is a priority for the BLM's Riparian and Wetlands Program because public land managers face increasing demand for water resources. Reliable supplies of water for domestic, agricultural, and industrial consumption are essential to community wellbeing and economic stability. Restoration can help balance human needs with those of fish and wildlife by increasing the quality and quantity of water resources. Accordingly, the Riparian and Wetlands Program developed specific goals for implementing riparian and wetland restoration projects across broad landscapes to repair land damaged or degraded by drought, fires, flood or other disturbances.  It also integrated the need of water resources into BLM’s planning efforts. BLM’s strategies to manage riparian and wetland areas include:

Complete and update regional riparian vegetation inventories which are necessary for planning efforts across broad landscapes.  Inventories identify opportunities for restoration.

  • Implement monitoring efforts in riparian areas involving BLM’s Assessment, Inventory and Monitoring Program.  This Program provides information on the health of riparian areas, including the diversity and abundance of native vegetation.
  • Work with partners at the community level including state, federal, and local government agencies to implement riparian restoration projects in priority areas, such as sage-grouse habitat.
  • Continue to collect information on riparian health to identify Proper Functioning Condition.