National Environmental Education Foundation Water Quality Infographics
"Water is Life," as the saying goes. Like all life, we are mostly composed of it – and must replenish it on a regular basis to stay alive. Until now, this hasn't been a problem – at least for those of us who don't live in deserts – because water has always been comparatively plentiful. We took it for granted, even polluting the rivers, streams, and wetlands that provide to us, because there was still enough to go around. But the advent of climate change and its expected impacts on large portions of the country, together with the accumulated impact of pollution, means that we need to start taking better care of the resources that provide us with our freshwater.
We were contacted by the National Environmental Education Foundation to create a series of illustrations to communicate water quality issues.
1. Wetlands & Flooding
One acre of wetlands can absorb 1-1.5 million gallons of floodwater helping to protect nearby communities.
2. Riparian Forests + Water Quality
Roots and trees in riparian forests, or forested wetlands, help to filter water before it reaches a river or stream, reducing the levels of nutrient pollution and sediment in overland flow.
3. Oysters + Filtration
Oysters are filter feeders, consuming algae from the water column. In doing so, they help to remove harmful nutrient pollution from the water. A single oyster is able to filter up to 50 gallons of water per day.
4. Mangrove Forests + Storm Surge
Mangrove forests on the coasts can help to reduce the damaging impact of storm surges by slowing the speed of incoming waters.
5. Wetlands + Groundwater Recharge
Wetlands collect and store fresh water at the surface from rain and overflow, slowing releasing it back into the ground where it can once again supply cities, towns, rivers, and streams.
6. Wetlands + Groundwater Recharge
Coral reefs can reduce incoming wave energy by 97%, dissipating the force of rough waves before they can erode the coast.
Read more about water quality issues here.