Habitat protection is a large goal, one that no one person can accomplish alone. These are simple steps, activities and habits that you can add to your daily routine that will have an important, real impact on the habitats around us.

How You Can Help

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  • Plant native species. Native shrubs and flowers provide better habitat for wildlife and require less water and fertilizer, which seeps into the rivers, sounds and ocean.
  • Reduce fertilizer use. Excess fertilizer for lawns and agriculture runs off into the rivers, sounds and ocean. Just like the land plants that love the nutrients in fertilizers, algae will quickly grow or bloom in the presence of excess nutrients. Algal blooms smother fish and can block out sunlight for plants and animals growing underwater.
  • Use living-shoreline stabilization techniques.If you own waterfront property and have an erosion problem, stabilize shorelines and riverbanks with native grasses and plants instead of rock or concrete.
  • Recycle. Use the appropriate recycling and trash containers to keep litter from entering storm drains that lead to estuaries and the ocean.
  • Dispose of chemicals properly. Never pour chemicals, pharmaceuticals or paint into the drain or toilets, and keep oil off the street.

  • Walk, ride a bike, use public transportation, or carpool. This reduces the amount of grease, oil, exhaust and tire/brake residue that end up in the estuaries and ocean. Particularly, vehicle exhaust contributes to nitrogen pollution entering our bays from the air.
  • Volunteer to clean up. Participate in local activities, such as beach cleanups, that help protect habitat and the wildlife that lives there.
  • Pick up after your pet. Pet waste is untreated sewage that easily enters the rivers, sounds and ocean. Large amounts of animal waste accumulated from pets, wildlife and livestock can lead to disease, nutrient loading, fish kills and other harmful outcomes in coastal habitat.

  • Leave no trace. Keep the shore clean by taking your trash and fishing gear with you and leaving nature safe in its proper place for all to enjoy. Keep off the dunes so that they may continue to protect coastal habitat from storms. Take only pictures. Respect the environment where you are. Just because the place where you vacation isn’t where you live doesn’t mean that no one lives there. Fish live there. They are the true locals and respecting their home means more and healthier fish.
  • Become an ethical angler. Ethical anglers practice habits that treat fish and habitats with respect.
  • Follow all size and bag limit regulations. Regulations ensure that fishery resources are protected. Observing the size and bag limits allows enough fish to grow old enough to reproduce, therefore, maintaining the population.
  • Follow all regulations about gear and tackle requirements. Some gear destroys habitat in the process of harvesting fish. There exist ways to collect seafood without destroying the habitat in which it’s found.

  • Never toss trash overboard. If you lose belongings off the side of the boat, attempt to retrieve them; the time you spend to keep the waters clean is well spent. It takes a long time for items tossed overboard to find their way out of ecosystems.
  • Only empty the marine head in approved locations. Natural waste does more damage to habitats than artificial waste and litter. Material emptied from heads directly into habitats can cause harmful algal blooms, contaminate seafood with dangerous pathogens and add excess nutrients into fragile systems.
  • Be an ethical angler. If fishing from your boat practice ethical angling habits.
  • Rinse your boat every time you use it. Rinsing your boat and removing any vegetation from the propellers and sides helps to prevent the spread of invasive species and is proper maintenance of your vessel. Invasive species can compete with native species for food and spread quickly over large areas if care isn't taken to help control them.