Sometimes we get so caught up in the quest to save our waterways that we don’t stop to think about why we love them so much in the first place! This February, let’s go along with the spirit of love and really focus on why we love our waterways. Here are my top ten reasons:
10. Beauty – We’ll start it off with the most obvious. Hampton Roads (in my biased opinion) is the most beautiful area in the country thanks to our waterways.
9. Sports – If you’ve ever tried kayaking on the Elizabeth River or hiking through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, you know that with water comes fun and exploration!
8. History – Travel might be quick and easy for us now, but back when explorers were first discovering our country, rivers were their interstates! In fact, it’s thanks to these waterways that our country was able to grow and thrive. The wealth of history surrounding our rivers and bays is incredible.
7. Community – Have you ever noticed how waterways build communities? And I’m not talking about the neighborhoods that pop up on the water’s edge. I’m talking about the groups of people who come together to enjoy and save the water. People with nothing else in common can come together to support a cause they all believe in: keeping waterways healthy.
6. Jobs – Fishing, boating, eco-tourism, naval stations, bridge building…the list goes on and on! Thanks to the water, we have a wider variety of jobs, businesses and non-profits in the area.
5. Transportation – You can travel from North Carolina through Hampton Roads, up to Washington DC, Baltimore and even into Pennsylvania – without setting foot on land! What an incredible connection, especially for the transport of goods along the east coast.
4. Fresh seafood – Crabs, shrimp and oysters, oh my! People come from all over just to have a taste of our fresh, local seafood.
3. Clean drinking water – We take fresh drinking water for granted. All we have to do is turn on the faucet and it’s there! But every time someone dumps auto fluids down the storm drain or over-fertilizes their lawn, they put our supply at risk. Our actions at home and around town are directly connected to the health of our drinking supply!
2. Plants – Specifically, native plants (plants that grow in this region naturally). Our local watersheds have such a great variety of beautiful plant life, from the showy azaleas and magnolias to the more humble cordgrass and cattails. All belong in our area and all contribute to the beauty and health of our watersheds.
1. Animals – My number one reason to love our waterways and keep them clean is because they aren’t ours to destroy! Our rivers and lakes and streams are home to animals that have to deal with our destructive behaviors. When we pollute, it’s their home we destroy. Some of my favorites animal sightings include the great egret and the great blue heron, sea turtles and otters – just to name a few!
So there you have it. Ten reasons why we are so lucky to live in this area. Ten reasons why we should make every effort to keep our waterways clean and healthy. Ten reasons why your small, everyday actions can make a huge difference in our most precious resource: water! What are YOUR top reasons?
Article written by Elizabeth Vaughn, Public Works Information Specialist, City of Chesapeake, Public Works