Riparian-wetland areas (zones along water courses and waterbodies with unique soil and vegetation characteristics dependent on water) are some of the most important habitat on the landscape. They cycle nutrients, reduce flooding, filter pollutants, improve aquatic habitat, and are critical to nearly all terrestrial wildlife at some point in their life-cycle. In the western United States, however, they comprise less than one percent of the land area and are highly susceptible to direct disturbance or changes within a watershed.

The BLM is required to manage riparian-wetland areas to be in Proper Functioning Condition (PFC), the minimum state of resilience needed to withstand moderate flooding and thereby enable progression towards a desired condition that supports resource values like fish habitat, water quality, and wildlife needs.