River otters spotted at Tamara Quays restoration site - photo © M.A. Woodruff
With all the human activities in our watersheds today, habitats favored by our native plants and animals are increasingly compromised. Pollution of air, water, and soils, habitat fragmentation, and the introduction of invasive species are all pressures acting to strain the ecological integrity of our native ecosystems.
Watershed-oriented conservation can systematically and more efficiently address multiple ecological pressures on our native habitats. Take for example the revegetation work SDCWC has conducted in the riparian zone of the Salmon River.
This work has improved habitat both within and beyond affected stream reaches, by lowering water temperature to a level preferred by salmonids, stabilizing stream banks, reducing sedimentation of downstream reaches, providing nesting sites and forage for wildlife, and creating a vegetation buffer that filters overland pollutants.
SDCWC's restoration work in the Salmon River estuary has yielded a number of positive outcomes for the watershed by increasing the area of wetland habitat for wetland species, which aids in the filtration of upstream pollutants, improving the capacity of the estuary as a nursery for juvenile salmon, and reconnecting the wetland the surrounding ecosystem, which mitigates habitat fragmentation.