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© Barry Draper

Defending Habitat

Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems

Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems

More than 70 percent of the planet is covered by water. Marine and freshwater aquatic systems are home to an astonishing 90 percent of the Earth’s habitat by volume.

In our field offices and in the national and international arenas, we fight every day to ensure the survival of iconic marine species. By protecting these charismatic species, we also protect their marine and coastal habitats, as these species cannot survive and thrive except as interconnected parts of healthy and vibrant ecosystems.

Our experts work with the FWS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, as well as other federal, state, tribal and private entities to restore and protect fragile aquatic systems to provide marine and freshwater species with the habitat they need for their continued survival in the face of climate change. Defenders collaborates extensively with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state wildlife agencies and others to bring resources into agricultural communities that help farmers reduce impacts from their practices on freshwater systems. We also work with local and coastal communities to increase awareness and understanding of wildlife coexistence tools and to promote marine and freshwater advocacy. Where necessary, we bring our legal tools to bear to ensure that the federal government complies with its obligations to protect marine and freshwater wildlife species and their habitats.