The biggest threat wildlife face is loss of habitat. Biophilia Foundation is dedicated to stopping and reversing that loss. Restoring wetlands and watersheds, planting trees and recreating native grass meadows is one of the best ways to help wildlife. This work also helps improve water quality.
Biophilia has supported Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage (CWH) in its work to increase wildlife habitat for two decades. CWH’s work provides an example for other environmental groups because changing the landscape is the most effective way to save wildlife.
CWH is dedicated to the management, restoration and protection of wildlife habitat and the establishment of a more sustainable agriculture in partnership with public and private landowners.
CWH has restored 1,876 acres of wetlands, created 5,256 acres of warm season grass meadows, planted 953 acres of trees and permanently protected 2,666 acres of wildlife habitat. Their staff educates more than 250 farmers, landowners and students about their role in providing quality habitat for wildlife and restoring the Chesapeake Bay annually. Founded in 1980, CWH owns 1,150 acres of land that are managed to maximize the benefits for a wide variety of wildlife.
CWH restores and manages wetlands, grasslands and woodlands to increase habitat for wildlife and reduce pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay. This work is done in partnership with private and public landowners. CWH staff also restores and manages habitat on their own land. In partnership with CWH, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center has documented that their restored wetlands can filter up to 70% of the water pollutants that would otherwise reach the Bay. Researchers at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center found that within five years of restoration, a CWH wetland can provide favorable habitat for more than 60 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects and over 100 species of plants.
Their education programs encourage individuals to restore and create wildlife habitat. Lecture topics include the natural history of bats, bluebirds and butterflies, the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay, warm season grass meadows, and improving backyard habitat. One of most successful programs is their Monarch Butterfly Tagging Program –a hands-on program where participants learn about the migration of Monarch Butterflies and help track this migration by placing a tiny tag on their wing.
The Backyard Habitat portion of this program focuses on small scale wildlife habitat projects that can be easily implemented on smaller properties such as wildflower meadows, nesting structures, butterfly gardens, rain gardens and more. Wildlife habitat is improved by developing partnerships with private landowners, schools, community organizations, municipalities, and retirement communities
CWH staff teach farmers and landowners about agricultural methods that reduce pesticide and nutrient pollution. This work is important because agriculture is the biggest polluter of the Chesapeake Bay. The staff provide expert advice for farmers on approximately 2,000 acres of land and make equipment necessary for sustainable agriculture available to area farmers such as a liquid fertilizer injector. Access to this expensive, specialized equipment is crucial to farmers investigating sustainable agriculture.
The Landowner Services Program has permanently protected more than 2,500 acres of wildlife habitat on private land by advising landowners about various land preservation techniques and helping groups purchase land to be restored. These properties are developed by and strengthen all of their core programs including habitat restoration, sustainable agriculture, education and landowner services. The properties consist of permanently protected wildlife sanctuaries owned by private individuals or by Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage.
What is a watershed?
As defined by Water Encyclopedia:
“Restoration of a watershed returns the ecosystem to as close an approximation as possible of its state prior to a specific incident or period of deterioration. If a watershed has deteriorated abruptly due to a sewage spill, restoration may consist of only a few procedures. When deterioration of a watershed occurs gradually, however, restoration can require rigorous scientific protocols and involve lengthy, complicated, and costly operations.
The restorative process includes the remediation of the water quality, repairing the source of the water damage, and repopulating the watershed with plant and animal species. In some cases, it is sufficient to make the restored habitat attractive to native species and to allow natural repopulation.”
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