It's about the water
Photo given by Bob Degoursey
Caring for our waters is caring for life.
Water is the basis of all life on Earth. When humans seek life on other planets, they always look for evidence of water. Toadfish is right--it IS all about the water. We humans have to pay attention to the quality of the water if we want to ensure our own quality of life, and remember that whatever we put on the land ends up in the water. In healthy natural ecosystems, every being is connected with every other one. Organisms are always adapting and evolving, relying on the biodiverse relationships which define life. Human development, if not done in harmony with Nature, results in pollution of all kinds, land and wetland loss, and species loss.
Fortunately, Nature is resilient after 3.6 billion years of adaptation. With some help from human partners, significant damage to soil, air, water, and species can be repaired, and most ecosystems can be restored. Monitoring water quality and species health is the best way to learn what Nature is trying to tell us needs our attention. Perhaps we learn that we only need to protect certain areas. Perhaps others need to be restored. In the Mystic River Watershed, we need to check on and maintain or restore the health of both freshwater and saltwater ecosystems.
Inland Wetlands and Watercourses
Our Inland Wetlands and Watercourses (fresh water ponds, lakes, and swampland) provide nesting and breeding area, refuge space for threatened species, spawning grounds for migratory fish, water filtration, and water uptake to control flooding.
Photo given by JD Fontanella
Photo given by Paul Duddy
In our estuary, salty water comes in and meets the headwaters and both go out with the tides. Some say our Tidal Marshes are like the lungs of Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. We say yes to that--and add that they are nurseries for our babies! Improving water quality is essential to maintaining life not only in the tidal marshes where this heron is feeding, but to protect life in the entire interconnected bioregion.
Stop Hydrilla the Killa !!!
Learn more about hydrilla, how to prevent it, and what we can do if it's already here.
Plus SeaGrant, Oyster & Shellfish Industry, and EPA "How's My Waterway."
Estuary Water Monitoring
Volunteers trained by CUSH and graduate students collected water samples and did basic testing for levels of oxygen and prepped the samples for chlorophyll tests. At the labs (URI and UConn), types of bacteria, pH, turbidity, and salinity were sampled. Dr. Pieter Visscher and his PhD students also sampled sediments in various places in the estuary, including the tidal marsh in Old Mystic.
The Alliance was able to extend the testing zones that CUSH has been testing for decades, and also the EPA's Watershed testing zone. We will be able to collect data from several sources and map it over time. Based on what the data tells us, we can identify problem areas for focus in our Watershed Resilience Action Plan.