An ecosystem is an interconnected community of living things, such as plants, animals, and microbes, and the nonliving environment, such as air, climate, water, minerals, that surrounds it.
The adjoining riparian (river) ecosystem and surrounding landscapes vary from a relatively unaltered natural state to a heavily developed urban state and everything in between, which results in fragmentation of this important habitat.
Ecosystems that are connected are able to function much better than those that are fragmented. These fragments are often caused by impediments such as roads, parking lots, and a variety of other natural and man-made features. Some species of plants and animals are able to move through these fragmented habitats, including plants with wind-blown seeds and wildlife that can fly. However, there are many other species who are constrained to the ground which makes crossing these impediments very dangerous. By protecting native plant communities and the ways they connect our landscape, we can protect valuable habitats that benefit wildlife, improve water quality, and the overall health of the environment. We encourage you to learn about the ecosystems surrounding you to help in the understanding, improvement, conservation, preservation, and stewardship of these amazing resources.
A healthy ecosystem is essential for life to thrive, including people. Explore the graphic to see all the important ways the living and nonliving elements bring about resiliency.