coastal wetlands (ecology continues): a haiku

a lone duckEnclosed duck alone

artificial home forlorn

glass cage no beyond

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I find this photograph taken in an aquarium appealing to my heart. It is a lone duck swimming. The backdrop is a glass wall. Like The Truman Show. There is nothing real for this duck. The wetlands. The marshes. The water. The dunes. It gives a spectator a view of what has been and what should be in the wild. ~~~~~~

The following is quoted from U.S. fish and Wildlife Service.

What Is a Coastal Ecosystem?

A “coastal ecosystem” includes estuaries and coastal waters and lands located at the lower end of drainage basins, where stream and river systems meet the sea and are mixed by tides. The coastal ecosystem includes saline, brackish (mixed saline and fresh) and fresh waters, as well as coastlines and the adjacent lands. All these water and land forms interact as integrated ecological units. Shorelands, dunes, offshore islands, barrier islands, headlands, and freshwater wetlands within estuarine drainages are included in the definition since these interrelated features are crucial to coastal fish and wildlife and their habitats. A variety of animals, and plants complete the ecological system. Coastal wetlands are commonly called lagoons, salt marshes or tidelands. If you live along the coast, these natural systems are likely to be a common sight, although in many areas, coastal wetlands were among the first places to be converted and developed for human activities.

The Importance of Coastal Ecosystems

Our Nation’s coasts provide important fish and wildlife habitat, far beyond their limited geographic extent. Coastal ecosystems comprise less than 10 percent of the Nation’s land area, but support far greater proportions of our living resources.

For example, coastal areas support a much higher percentage of the Nation’s threatened and endangered species fishery resources, migratory songbirds, and migrating and wintering waterfowl.

Today, these species and their habitats face serious threats in coastal regions from human population growth and the development and disturbance that are often a consequence of growth. Population projections indicate that our coastlines will continue to receive the majority of the Nation’s growth and development, promising to compound today’s habitat losses.

As habitat is degraded, reduced or eliminated, plants and animals suffer population losses that can lead to the need for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Service’s Coastal Program is working to avoid further species declines by enhancing its efforts within the Nation’s coastal areas and securing funding for conservation, including habitat restoration efforts.

coastal wetlands

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