Today is World Water Day! This year’s theme is “Nature for Water,” highlighting nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century. Whether they be plants, animals or even bacteria, the Chesapeake Bay watershed has all kinds of natural water workers.
Here are some of our best “co-workers” that work alongside us to keep our region’s waterways healthy and clean.
Even waterways have “lawns!” And they do quite a bit to help our local ecosystem. Underwater grasses grow in the shallow waters of the Bay and its streams, providing food and habitat to wildlife, adding oxygen to the water and trapping sediment and nutrient pollution. Organizations like the Chesapeake Bay Program often seek the assistance of local residents to help replenish the Bay’s underwater grass who can grow submerged celery grass at home to replant in the Bay.
The Eastern Oyster
You might be surprised to learn that just one oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water every day. This helps improve water quality, in addition to providing food and habitat to other animals. If you’re a frequent oyster eater, you can actually help replenish the Bay’s oyster population by recycling your oyster shells.
Forest and Wooded Areas
The trees and shrubs that run alongside streams and other waterways do a lot more than just look nice. For one, they are in many ways a filter for stormwater runoff and trash that would otherwise go straight into the water. They also absorb nutrients like nitrogen that can lead to algal blooms, which are extremely harmful for waterways.
At AlexRenew, we’re always looking for natural solutions to incorporate into our water-cleaning process. One of our best examples is anammox bacteria, which are naturally occurring and safe to use in the wastewater treatment process. These bacteria take a shortcut when converting ammonia in dirty water into nitrogen gas, which is safely released back into the atmosphere. All of this allows us to use fewer chemical to treat dirty water, improve the quality of the water we clean and increase our energy efficiency!
Cheers to the Chesapeake’s natural water workers! Let’s all do our part to help keep them safe and healthy so they can do the same for our waterways!