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Appreciating Pollinators

The importance of pollinators is often expressed through big numbers related to food crops. With last month's release of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services' report "Thematic Assessment of Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production" such a number is 235-577 billion: the annual value in U.S. dollars of global crops directly affected by…
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Religion & Environmental Stewardship

Throughout history and to this very day, differences in religion have been the source of significant conflict in the world. The intersection of religion and environment has also been laden with discord, particularly in the last half of the 20th century. In the oft-cited 1967 paper “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis” which appeared in…
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Repercussions of a repealed stormwater fee in Baltimore County

Like the contaminants that rush downstream in a polluted river, the repercussions of a repeal of Baltimore County’s state-mandated stormwater remediation fee will flow fast and far, and have a devastating impact on the Chesapeake Bay. The average person likely gives little thought to what happens to a drop of rain that falls in…
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Frustratingly Fickle on Stormwater

Here in the Baltimore region, we love our Inner Harbor and Chesapeake Bay. Make fun of the beloved blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) adorning our sweatshirts, t-shirts, and yard flags, and things will get personal real quick. Yet somehow, the moment we are told we have to help cover the cost of cleaning up polluted…
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What if Nature had legal rights?

Earlier this year, in the Spring Equinox issue of Leaf Litter, restoration ecologist Mike Trumbauer shared a sad tale about a spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) who discovers that his annual route to a vernal pool for breeding—the same route he and his ancestors have traveled for years—has been blocked because humans are building a road. Though the salamander…
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Banding Together for Bird Conservation

For me, any day spent on the beach rather than in my office is a good day. Add in great people and fun, active work aimed at protecting rare shorebirds, and that beach day quickly upgrades to great. Throw in the chance to hold fluffy, adorable chicks, and, well…we’re talking epic. Last…
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An Oasis in the Most Unlikely Place

In providing clean water to more than half million customers in Oregon’s Tualatin River Watershed, Clean Water Services, a water resources management utility, takes an approach that extends well beyond the silos of wastewater, stormwater, and permit requirements to consider the overall needs of the watershed. Their water solutions not only serve people,…
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Healing Coastal Habitats

As spring eases into summer in the Northern Hemisphere, many of us find ourselves drawn to the coast. The tidal pulse of marshes, reefs, rocky shores, and sandy beaches delivers its restorative tonic, and we drink it in. But despite their power, the world’s coastal ecosystems are fragile, and they’re in trouble.…
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Thoughts on Salamanders

Throughout much of human history, the arrival of the vernal equinox has been celebrated through rituals. But we are not the only creatures with springtime rituals. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, in streams and vernal pools, many amphibians are engaging in their annual spring mating rituals. In this issue of Leaf Litter, we’ve…
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