Freshwater habitats

Freshwater habitats include rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds, wetlands and streams. Freshwater habitats account for less than 0.01% of the planet’s total surface area but they support more than 100,000 species, a list that includes more than just fish. Worms, mollusks, crayfish and insect larvae burrow into muddy lake or creek bottoms. Reeds and rushes along the shores shelter frogs and newts. Birds and mammals nest and feed in wetland vegetation. 

Freshwater systems are now among the most endangered habitats in the world, due to human development, pollution, and climate change. Fewer than 70 of the world’s 177 longest rivers remain free of man-made obstructions. Development, logging, pollution, agriculture and poor management put freshwater systems—and the water they produce for people—at risk.

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