Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wildlife Wednesday - healthy river

My local river is looking pretty healthy at the moment, which I'm putting down to the three occasions it's been opened to the sea in the last 3 years (I think it's been that many over that time period, but I might be wrong).

When we first moved here, the riverbank was silty sand but it had a lot of underlying black ooze in it. When I walked along at low tide, it'd be usual for the dogs and I to come home with black feet, and legs if we sank in! Now, that rarely happens.

At the farthest end, in the quietest spot water-movement-wise, there are quite a lot of mangrove seedlings growing. Mangroves are a great ecosystem, so I love seeing one starting here. For me, once the sand and water are conducive to plant growth, and then plants grow, then animals, birds and fish move in, and an ecosystem takes shape. While nutrients cycle around, plants and critters do their jobs and things remain healthy and happy.

Look at all the crabs and what not that have erupted from the sand at low tide. Through their search for food, they'll be cleaning the sand. Then birds will come to feed, poop and add nutrients. Provided they don;t eat every critter around, this can cycle nicely while the mangroves grow.

We have a lot of migratory birds that have headed off now, so this will allow the critter population to increase with less bird feeding pressure.

But as the river gets dirtier, and saltier, because of little influx of clean water, I despair a little for my end of the river. I know when we arrived, it had been sealed up for 25 years so it was at its worst...I'm just hoping that doesn't happen again. I'm hoping we get some regular, or semi-regular, nature breaks to the sea.

And I'm also hoping that the well-meaning people who want a permanent opening to the sea don't get to change the ecosystem too much. We chose our little town because it was 'country' and full of nature. In recent years, there's been a huge number of trees cut down, less wildlife, and more people wanting a 'city' here. But that's another soapbox, and I won't digress there (I might never stop!).

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