Improving aquatic and riparian areas is a great way to achieve beter water quality and create wildlife habitat. Whether you live on a 1/4 acre parcel or a 100 acre property, there is a lot that you can do to help.
Invasive species are introduced to local waterways from other parts of the world. In the new environment and without natural predators, many adapt to the local aquatic environment, proliferate, and out-compete native aquatic species. Their often prolific reproduction causes ecological disruptions as well as problems with human use and enjoyment of waterways, including clogging water intake pipes and suffocating ponds.
The best way to help manage aquatic invasive species is to stop their spread by cleaning boating and other water equipment and by never releasing aquarium pets or plants into the wild.
Managing flowing aquatic resources in the Piedmont is particularly important, due to our location in the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Improvements to aquatic resources at the local level will enhance regional water quality. It is our duty as members of the greater ecological community to think of what our actions on the local level will do to wildlife downstream.
Ponds and lakes can provide resources for feeding and nesting to a wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic organisms, in addition to contributing to the scenic beauty of your property. If you want to improve the quality of wildlife habitat in your pond or lake, while enhancing the water quality in your system, you can plant a riparian buffer, or allow one to grow, around the edge of your pond or lake. If you'd like to help wildlife and establish a strong recreational fishery, stocking your pond or lake with desirable fish is a great option.
Wetlands, including seeps and springs, serve as important areas of habitat for aquatic and terrestrial animals, and provide the important ecological function of filtering sediment and pollution before they reach the watershed. Wetlands are most effective in their ecological function and as habitat when their unique vegetation is allowed to grow. It is recommended not to drain or mow wetlands, nor to remove trees or allow livestock in them.