Federal, state, and local governments often enact policies or laws that are designed to protect bodies of water like lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands. Even though keeping track of these laws can be difficult, it is extremely important. The benefits of waterway protection far outweigh the minor hassle of adhering to a few policies or regulations. Some of the advantages of protecting these natural spaces include:
1. Protecting habitat for wild animals.
Wetlands and waterways are home to an incredibly diverse array of wildlife. From migratory fish like salmon to birds that are on the endangered species list, many of these creatures rely on waterways to live. Anything that disrupts these waterways can pose a significant risk to these individual species. Wildlife protection is one of the primary goals of many of the laws that are in place.
Interestingly, disruptions in the lifecycle of these species can lead to further problems caused by an imbalance in nature. For instance, when certain species of fish die because of poor waterway management, the mosquito population goes up since the fish are no longer there to eat them. This can lead to major problems with pests and can increase the spread of disease.
2. Recreational opportunities.
Bodies of water also add to the enjoyment of outdoor spaces. Whether you want to go canoeing on a quiet lake on a beautiful summer morning, relax with a good book next to a meandering stream, or go whitewater rafting on a raging river, there are countless ways to stay entertained when visiting naturally occurring waterways. Without proper protection, many of these recreational opportunities would be lost.
3. Drinking water protection.
Rivers often provide drinking water to cities and towns. Industrial activities can cause pollution, making it unsafe to drink. Certain activities like building dams can also interfere with the flow of the water, which could affect the water supply for large areas. The laws and regulations that are in place to protect waterways often are designed to ensure that sources of drinking water remain unharmed.
4. Support for agricultural activities.
In order to grow food, farmers need access to water. Drainage, irrigation, and flood management all play a key role in the overall success of crops. Keeping waterways healthy through proper protection helps ensure that farmers have access to the water that they need to keep their crops alive and thriving. People throughout the country rely on food that is grown in fields that are supported by good waterway management.
Waterway protection is a lot more important than most people think. Activities like mining, constructing dams, and building structures can all interfere with the balance of nature. Left unchecked, problems like pollution, water shortages, and species extinction can all occur. Fortunately, state and federal regulatory agencies generally do a good job of managing the waterways that they care for. By enacting laws that are designed with protection in mind, they help ensure that these natural areas stay safe and unharmed. That is good news for all of the people and animals who live in or near these areas.