From the Winter 2012 Conservationist for Kids
People Help Marine Habitats
By Gina Jack
All of New York's watersheds eventually drain to the ocean, as water travels in rivers, lakes and surface water (runoff). What gets into the water eventually reaches beaches, estuaries and oceans. To keep our estuaries and oceans healthy, we need to keep our local waters healthy.
- Put litter in its place. When litter is blown or washed into waterways, it can be carried to beaches and marine habitats. Hungry marine animals sometimes mistake trash floating in the water for food. If they eat it, they may starve or choke. Animals may also become tangled in marine trash.
- Scoop the poop. Pick up after your pet so its waste doesn't end up in the water. Polluted waters are unhealthy for wildlife. We wouldn't want to swim in them, and food from these waters might be unsafe for us to eat.
- Control your catch. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regulates fishing seasons and limits how many and what size of different species of fish and shellfish may be caught and kept. These rules ensure that there will always be plenty of these animals around.
- Reduce the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and cleaning solutions. Rain can wash it off roads, driveways and parking lots and into the ocean, where it pollutes the water.
The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Preservation and Research helps marine mammals and sea turtles found in distress on New York's marine beaches and in our waters. Whenever possible, stranded and injured animals are rehabilitated and returned to the wild, sometimes with devices that track their movement after release. Go to Riverhead Foundation for Marine Preservation and Research's website to check out the stories of some of these animals. Learn about their rescue and rehabilitation and how to report stranded marine wildlife you may find.
Photo: Dawn McReynolds