Biodiversity encompasses the diversity of life – the varying and different species, genes and ecosystems of the Earth. Given the myriad interconnections amongst all the forms of life, the loss of a species or variation within a species, or the diminishment of an ecosystem has the potential to threaten the rest of life, including humans. The current global rate of species extinction is between 1,000 and 10,000 times the normal and 60% of ecosystem services worldwide are either degraded or being used unsustainably. Whether one values biodiversity for the services it provides to humans, or instead sees all species and ecosystem as having a right to exist, the accelerating loss of biodiversity, driven largely by the development of natural lands, makes the need for conservation ever more pressing.
Water Quality impacts everyone, regardless of where they live. In developed areas, urban or suburban, a large portion of the land surface is covered by buildings and paved surfaces. This creates sizable areas that rely on storm drains to carry water runoff from roofs and paved areas to nearby waterways. Rather than using the ground as a natural absorbent for rain and snowmelt, the stormwater runoff in paved areas carries pollutants (oil, dirt, chemicals, fertilizers) directly into streams and rivers where they are harmful to water quality.Controlling damaging runoff by protecting natural areas, using low-impact development strategies and limiting pollutants are key factors in ensuring water quality.