Monday, February 13, 2012

Cities Threaten Fish

Fish like herring, perch and striped bass don't do as well when land uses shift from rural and forested streams to those found in suburbs and cities, which puts at risk things like a multibillion-dollar fishery in Maryland and Virginia.James Uphoff, a researcher with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, said Friday at a Center for the Inland Bays Science and Technical Advisory meeting that they have been collecting fish, water quality and land-use data -- with the benchmark being percentage of land covered by impervious surfaces like roads, parking lots, sidewalks and buildings -- in the Chesapeake Bay estuary.
Well, yeah, urban streams suck.  But what's better, bigger more concentrated cities that affect more streams in a limited area, or people spread out in more suburban and rural setting with lesser impacts to streams over a wider area?
The impacts of impervious surfaces on herring fisheries, for instance, start to show up when impervious surface area reaches 10 percent, he said."By the time you get to 12 percent impervious surface, there is quite a drop in herring found in these spawning streams," Uphoff said.
I would guess Long Beach as a community is somewhere near that level of impervious surfaces, but averaged over the more rural area nearby, we're far less.  I'd much rather live here than Baltimore.

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