Water

"Water is Life," as the saying goes. Like all life, we are mostly composed of it – and must replenish it on a regular basis to stay alive. Until now, this hasn't been a problem – at least for those of us who don't live in deserts – because water has always been comparatively plentiful. We took it for granted, even polluting the rivers, streams, and wetlands that provide to us, because there was still enough to go around. But the advent of climate change and its expected impacts on large portions of the country, together with the accumulated impact of pollution, means that we need to start taking better care of the resources that provide us with our freshwater.

Wetlands act as both natural filtration systems and buffers against flooding but, reduced by drainage for development and saturated with agricultural runoff, insecticides from lawn use, and bacteria from faulty septic systems, their functions are failing. What can you do? Use non-toxic products for household cleaning and lawn care; keep lawns and driveways free of pet waste, fertilizers and motor oil; and contact your local state agencies and environmental organizations to check out the volunteer opportunities for protecting wetlands, rivers, and streams.

Fighting egrets

Wetlands of the United States

Found on every continent save Antarctica, wetlands come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes—and hydrological, ecological and geological conditions!
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Turtle swimming among coral

US Coral Reefs in a Warming Ocean

As the oceans around the US become warmer & more acidic due to greenhouse gas emissions, the health & survival of coral reef ecosystems are threatened
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Aerial view of rocks and beach

Stirring up the Seven Seas

By riding the global ocean conveyor belt, seawater may have traveled the planet—and the seven seas—supporting the global food chain on its way.
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Irrigating fields

Future Increases in Water Demand

In many areas of the United States, the demand for freshwater is likely to increase while supplies decrease due, in part, to a changing climate.
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Waterway estuary

Groundwater and the Rising Seas

Changes in precipitation and rising sea levels may reduce the availability of freshwater for coastal communities by saltwater infiltration.
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Sea urchin shells

Marine Life and Ocean Acidity

Increasing ocean acidity decreases the ability of shells and other calcium carbonate structures, such as coral skeletons, to form.
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Sandbags on eroding east coast

Sea Level Rise

Global sea levels are rising at an accelerating rate, and climate change is likely to speed up the rate of sea level rise over the next century.
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Explore

The Watershed Sleuth Challenge

In this Watershed Sleuth Challenge, you will learn more about your watershed—what it is, why it’s important, and what you can do to help protect it.
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Water Quality Activity Guide

Water Quality Backyard Activity Guide

Use this activity guide to explore the topic of water quality. It's perfect for your next environmental investigation!
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Water Quality

Do Your Part to Protect Water Quality

Give these tips a try to protect water quality where you live.
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