Freshwater ecosystems provide clean drinking water, reduce the impacts of floods and fires, and are essential habitat for fish and wildlife. Despite these benefits, rivers and wetlands are often undervalued and overlooked, and the rapid loss and degradation of freshwater systems is undermining our ability to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises. Some of the most common sense and cost-effective options to address these crises are nature-based solutions.
Nature-based solutions use or mimic natural features or processes to improve biodiversity, strengthen resilience for disaster and hazard-risk management, support climate adaptation, and store carbon to mitigate climate change. For freshwater systems, these strategies include protecting and restoring wetlands to capture and filter water, reconnecting streams and rivers with their floodplains to increase their ability to refill groundwater stores and dampen flooding, and managing for beavers to create, maintain, and expand wetlands. For example, managing for beavers can increase the health of streams and wetlands when established in the right location with minimal human-beaver conflict, making them one of the most cost-effective restoration practices available. Read more.