Monday, December 17, 2012

Gifts from nature: Healthy waters

She helps get it from forest to your faucet, but Mother Nature needs your help to continue providing clean water for people and wildlife. 

A project at Sedgeunkedunk Stream in Maine removed a dam and restored natural water functions. Credit: Meagan Racey/USFWS
During this season of holiday giving, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would like to take time and reflect on the gifts we receive throughout the year from Mother Nature. Gifts of Nature are treasures to behold and wonders to be thankful for. 

Mother Nature provides an essential element for our survival – clean water. And not only does she provide it, but she has a system in place to keep it healthy and secure. Here are some examples: 
  • Wetlands act as filters between land and water, and as they connect the two, they filter excess nutrients and some pollutants, reduce sediment and help maintain groundwater levels. More (PDF).
  • Plants and trees along streams and rivers help secure banks and keep the water clear. Like wetlands, they can trap sediment, excess nutrients and pollutants.
  • And at the bottom of our healthy waters, freshwater mussels go about their work, silently filtering and helping keep our waters clean.
But there’s a catch, of course, to this wonderful system. We have to stay out of Mother Nature’s way. While we’ve made plenty of strides to restore and conserve our waters, we continue to threaten the future of healthy water on Earth.

In the Northeast – and across the country and the world – there are ways that everyone can pitch in. In addition to reducing how much water you use, you can help reduce water pollution from your yard, home, car and community.

As you receive nature’s gift of clean water this holiday season, make an effort to protect it. Consider it a good new year’s resolution.

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