Riparian lands provide a wealth of ecological benefits. For example, trees along the shoreline help to filter pollutants and sediment from runoff and groundwater before they enter the waterways. Trees also provide important habitat benefits for aquatic creatures. Fallen leaves and branches offer food and shelter, while shade helps to regulate water temperature and keep oxygen in the water. When riparian forests help to protect the streams and rivers in the Bay watershed, these benefits are realized downstream in the Chesapeake Bay. With more than 200,000 miles of streambanks and shoreline in the Bay watershed, riparian forests are vital for the success of the Bay restoration effort. Without them, the Bay and its rivers are increasingly susceptible to decline.