How Rising Sea Levels Affect Our Coastal Wildlife

hm-Terns-Griswold[1]Due to pollution and global warming, sea levels are consistently rising. This does not only mean a great danger to infrastructure in some coast stationed cities, more importantly, it represents an inevitable destruction of the precious balance of our ecosystem and the diverse wildlife that makes it so unique.

Our wildlife is affected by climate changes more severely than any other part of the natural landscape. These creatures are greatly dependent on the delicate balance between the land they occupy, the amount of fresh water available and the percent of land covered with vegetation they feed on or use as cover or nesting grounds. Animals that live in that shallow waters are additionally very sensitive to the balance between salt and fresh water and even the slightest change can mean the extinction of a species. Even though people are more conscious of their environment, positive changes don’t happen over night. This is why a lot of hard work and thought goes into the restoration of habitats for endangered species.

Let’s look at a few examples:
The California Least Tern is a migratory shorebird that nests and reproduces on a very limited beach area on the west coast of the United States. The survival of this species is greatly dependent on volunteer work and the protection of chicks against predators. There are also a few running projects that hope to restore their nesting habitat, add a few more places where these birds could have their offspring safely and raise awareness among the citizens living in that area.

One of the endangered species in the same area is also the Light-Footed Clapper Rail, a constant dweller of the salt marshes surrounding it. Due to their constant shrinkage, these animals have been listed as endangered for over 40 years. They are very unique birds, known for their special nesting habits that include a fascinatingly made nest, constructed in a way that makes it float on water. In the past, they have been endangered by an invasive species of vegetation, that is now under control. There are also quite a few legal protective measures in place that should prevent further reduction of the rail population along with the projects that hope to expand their natural habitat.

Not all of the endangered species are lucky enough to have legal protection. There is an elaborate and antiquated system in place that makes getting on the endangered species list right next to impossible. The population of the species has to be practically decimated to even be considered for it, and even then, the obstructive bureaucracy can mean the extinction of the species before it is classified as endangered. The rich real-estate agencies, more often than not concerned only by the profits that they can get out of the land, are not helping the matter ether. It is important that each individual considers their actions and helps as much as possible when it comes to helping endangered animals, otherwise, in a few years, there will be no coastal wildlife to speak of.