The San Joaquin River Blueway and its system of parks, wildlife areas, and open space will act as a first line of defense against floods and heavy rainfall, making the river safer for near-by communities. Costly flood damage to riverside communities and farms can be reduced by restoring some areas along the San Joaquin to marshes and stream-side forests, or riparian areas. These natural areas help to decrease flood intensity and provide floodwaters a place to go. Planting native trees, shrubs, and grasses can help to stem erosion and loss of valuable topsoil.