explores the importance of water as habitat for wildlife.
a living thing, any species, and water plays a major role in its
life. Plants, invertebrates, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles,
and mammals all depend on water. It is basic for survival. Many
living things also need it as habitat for part or all of their lifecycle.
Birds nest near it. Beavers build in it. Fish spend their whole
lives in it. Just as water is an important part of the lifecycle
for species, every species is an important part of the larger cycle
of the .
So if water is affected in any way, whether it dries up or becomes
polluted, it puts the entire balance of the ecosystem at risk.
Water Used as Habitat
to water habitats almost always stem from human actions.
- Toxic spills
kill fish and other wildlife.
used in industry or agriculture that are introduced into
may not immediately kill anything, but it may still cause problems.
can build up in the tissues of plants, fish, and other wildlife,
ultimately affecting entire food chains.
- , like straightening a rivers natural route,
can wipe out wetlands and other sensitive, important habitat.
like boating or jet-skis, can increase and pollution,
affecting wildlife habitat.
- Urban development
can threaten the quality of water habitats, but more often threatens
a habitat's very existence. As more and more land is developed
for humans' needs, there is less and less land available and devoted
itself can be a threat to waterways, because of sheer volume.
As more and more natural areas are developed for human habitation,
more wildlife is forced to occupy fewer waterways. For example,
water is an extremely important element of flyways, the routes
that migrating birds follow. Not only is food an issue, but more
birds forced to rely on fewer waterways can create a waste problem.
Thousands of birds forced into one small area stress both the
quantity and quality of a water resource.
do you think?
Are there water habitats in your community? What sort of wildlife
do they support?
this scenario: A company puts hot wastewater back into a river,
increasing the overall temperature of the river by a few degrees.
reports on a debate over water
rights in Oregon that pits endangered suckerfish against endangered
plan to save depleting species of salmon in Seattle is running
into trouble as development continues around the area.