Ensuring Ecosystem Protection
Clifton Western Bays and the surrounding watersheds provide habitat for thousands of species, including over a dozen, threatened and endangered species. We focus on protecting coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass which protect our shorelines, provide wildlife habitat, sequester carbon, and defend our cities against storm surge.
- Mangrove forests are made up of unique salt-tolerant tree species that grow in coastal intertidal zones in tropical and subtropical areas. They are home to a wealth of different species, providing protective nursery habitats and food for fish and other creatures. Mangroves sequester carbon by trapping sediments and nutrients in their roots. Mangroves reduce coastal erosion and protect coastal areas from storm surges, tides, and waves.
- Seagrasses are underwater flowering plants that provide cover and habitat for small creatures, including invertebrates and juvenile fish species, many of which are commercially valuable upon reaching adulthood. Large animals such as manatees and green turtles graze on seagrasses and they also play an important role in stabilizing sediments on the seafloor.
- Coral reefs are bastions of marine biodiversity, providing habitat for up to one-quarter of all marine life. Corals create life in locations in the ocean that otherwise desert. They are “ecosystem architects,” both animal and habitat, building structure with their limestone skeletons, which provide the homes for many species, much like the trees in a rainforest. Coral reefs also protect coastlines from storm surges, reducing wave energy by over 90%, and support the livelihoods of millions of people throughout the world.