The Chesapeake Bay area is one of the most scenic and beautiful in the whole United States. This area of the coast is home to rich biological diversity and is claimed by many native species of birds, fish, wildlife, and plants. The diverse ecology of this large area has been serious affected by many types of human activity. Many people have stepped up to the challenge of conserving the unique bioregions within the Chesapeake Bay area. Together, I believe that we can preserve the beauty and diversity of this unique region for our children and children’s children to enjoy.
Precious Wetland Areas
Wetlands are some of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Wetlands naturally purify the streams of water that enter them and provide abundant food for hundreds of species. These ecosystems are also some of the most vulnerable and so deserve our care and protection.
There are many large and small efforts being made to protect the numerous wetland areas throughout Chesapeake Bay region. Conservation groups have long been aware of the vital role that wetlands play in the greater ecosystem and have done great work in raising awareness of these precious natural resources.
Thanks to their efforts people can now enjoy preserved and restored wetland areas. These areas are havens for wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers in particular.
Conserving Native Bird Species for Future Generations
The eastern coastland of the United States is home to dozens of unique species of native birds, many of whom live in or migrate through the Chesapeake Bay region. You might be familiar with some of these species such as:
- Downy woodpecker
- Pintail duck
- Ruby-throated hummingbird
- Song sparrow
- Carolina chickadee
The health of native bird species is supported by caring for the land that these birds depend on. Disrupting the natural processes of forest, coast, meadow, and wetland diminishes the available food and interrupts vital mating habits. Though many conservation efforts have the stated intent to helping preserve rare and threatened species of bird, the work done has a positive impact on the land, air, and water as well.
Every Effort Makes a Difference
One of the most pressing conservation issues affecting the Chesapeake region is polluted runoff water. Water that drains from municipal areas towards the Bay and other major waterways carries pollution from lawn fertilizers, pesticides, soil, solid garbage, motor oil, and other automotive fluids from populated areas. These pollutants accumulate in the water ways and can be very difficult to remove. In fact, stormwater runoff is the only major source of Bay pollution that continues to increase.
This polluted runoff is dangerous to people as well as to plants and animals. The high levels of harmful bacteria found in stormwater can make people very sick if they are exposed to the water through swimming; even drinking water sources can be contaminated by this runoff.
In response to this ever-growing problem, municipalities and groups of concerned citizens have stepped up to implement natural stormwater management systems. Green filtration refers to a strategy of using trees, plants, and soil to capture and manage the water deposited by storms. Highly developed urban areas tend to lack the features of green filtration; this results in a rapid deposit of highly polluted water into nearby waterways. Urban planning efforts, as well as the individual choices people make with regards to fertilizer and pesticide use, could help significantly decrease the amount of polluted water entering our shared waterways. And since polluted water is more difficult and more expensive to treat, decreasing pollution levels could have a positive financial impact as well.
Responsible Planning and Land Use
Long-term conservation efforts begin in the planning phase of development. If conservation is not a primary goal within each phase of land development then it becomes much harder to implement these strategies years after development has taken place. The responsibility of conservation efforts should be shared by everyone since we all equally benefit from having clean air, land, and water.
Raising awareness of the inherent value of native plant and animals species, natural resources, and the vital processes these resources provide us with is a key part of every conservation effort. Our health and well-being depend on the land; it is in our own best interest to take care of it.
Many gains have been made already though there is no shortage of work left to be done. Conservation throughout the Chesapeake Bay region has the potential to benefit everyone. Not only will caring for our natural resources make this beautiful region a more pleasant place to live, we will be ensuring that everyone who comes after us will also have a Bay to treasure.
Lauren Hill strives to live her life as green as possible. She is an avid traveler and is heartbroken when she sees the beautiful areas of her nation being destroyed. She is thrilled to be writing for the completely green business of Anderson’s Neck who is dedicated to keeping the Cheasapeake Bay ecosystem healthy.
Sources: Saving the Bay, Conserving Rare Birds http://www.nwf.org/what-we-do/protect-habitat/healthy-forests-and-farms/farm-bill/farm-bill-success-stories/success-chesapeake.aspx
Polluted Runoff: http://www.cbf.org/how-we-save-the-bay/issues/polluted-runoff
Watershed Conservation: http://www.chesapeakeconservancy.org/Conserve