Geocache Answer 4

4. Schel-Chelb Estuary
Lat. N47 36 15.1 (N47 36.251)
Long. W122 33 5.9 (W122 33.098)

Latitude: Why is it important to protect the eelgrass found growing in tideflats?
15. All of the above. Each blade of eelgrass is a small food factory. Diatoms, bacteria, and detritus (decaying plant and animal matter) gathers on eelgrass leaves. This detritus provides food for many invertebrates; isopods, amphipods, polychaete worms, brittle stars, and some clams. The large number of invertebrates present make eelgrass beds rich feeding areas for fish and marine birds. As eelgrass dies, bacteria and fungi feed on the dead leaves, breaking them down into tiny bits. These particles of plant material provide vital nutrients for the nearshore food web.

Many animals use eelgrass beds for nursery areas, others swim or walk among the leaves, or burrow in the sediments. Within eelgrass meadows, there is food and shelter for a wide variety of sea anemones, marine worms, snails, limpets, crabs, birds, and fish.

Eelgrass meadows cushion the impact of waves and currents, preventing erosion. Eelgrass roots weave sediments in place. This protection helps preserve the highly productive bacteria in the sediments which nourish large amounts of invertebrates.

Dredging destroys eelgrass and eliminates food and shelter for an entire ecosystem, while structures such as docks can prevent eelgrass from getting enough light to grow.

Longitude: The major source of pollution in Puget Sound is from:
5. Stormwater runoff is unfiltered water that reaches streams, lakes, sounds, and oceans by means of flowing across impervious surfaces. These surfaces include roads, parking lots, driveways, and roofs. Polluted runoff is one of the major pathways for toxic pollution to enter the Puget Sound Basin.

Every time it rains, millions of gallons of toxics run off our streets, driveways, lawns and rooftops into Puget Sound, our lakes and rivers.

The Puget Sound Basin contains thirty percent of Washington roads and streets, or 50,300 miles. This represents thousands of acres of impervious pavement that keeps rain from infiltrating the ground and instead it all runs off quickly carrying toxics pollutants adding up to billions of gallons of stormwater runoff from roadways each year!

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