Last Friday (May 17) was Endangered Species Day – an opportunity for people of all ages to learn about the importance of protecting endangered species and everyday actions they can take to help protect them. Today’s blog gives an overview of a few endangered species the Endangered Species Coalition highlight on their website that are also located in NWNL Case-Study Watersheds. For more information about the Endangered Species Day, you can go here. To learn more about the Endangered Species Act, a crucial piece of legislation that allows for the protection of Endangered Species, please read NWNL’s blog from last year.
All photos included below were taken by NWNL Director Alison M Jones. All information was sourced from Endangered Species Coalition, and more information can be found by clicking the name of each species.
“Wolves are highly social animals that live in family groups called packs. At the top of the food chain, they have a very important role in the ecosystem. In the years since they were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho, wolves have helped reduce an overpopulation of elk in the Park, and have kept elk from lingering undisturbed in Aspen groves and along streams.” The below photos were taken on a 2008 Mississippi River Basin expedition to Yellowstone National Park.
“The piping plover (Charadrius melodus), a sparrow-sized, coastal dwelling bird, is a true North American treasure. The inland populations are endangered and the coastal population is listed as threatened according to the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Piping plovers are especially susceptible to human disturbances because they are ground nesting birds that make their home on open, sandy shorelines—the same beaches people value for residential and commercial development.” Though not in a NWNL Case-Study Watershed, the below photo was taken on Cape Cod in Massachusetts during breeding season.
“The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a bird of prey in North America. The Bald Eagle is usually quite sensitive to human activity while nestin, and is found most commonly in areas with minimal human disturbance. The plight of the bald eagle, our nation’s symbol, spurred America to pass the Endangered Species Act. Bald eagles are now found in every state with over 5,800 nesting pairs in the United States.” This photo was taken during a 2011 NWNL Mississippi River Basin Expedition in the Atchafalaya Basin.
“The migration of the salmon is one of nature’s most dramatic and exciting journeys. Because salmon need pure, cold water, they are extremely vulnerable to water pollution and diversion. Twenty-seven West Coast salmon runs are endangered.” Salmon are a crucial part of the ecosystem in NWNL Case-Study Watershed Columbia River. The below photo of Chinook hatchery salmon was taken during a 2011 NWNL Columbia River Basin expedition to Olympia, Washington.