For thousands of years, rivers in the arid Southwest have sustained people and supported an abundance of plants and wildlife. Though at times unnoticed, the numerous services that these rivers perform provide substantial benefits to the people living near them. For example, the plants growing along the river naturally slow flood flows, improve air quality, and provide shade. Soils in the floodplain, meanwhile, filter and clean the river water as it recharges the groundwater aquifer that supports local residents.
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