The Future of Preservation
The Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge is a terrific example of how wildlife should be protected and managed despite how economically stimulating commerical and residential development can be. It also shows that no matter who you are, anyone with enough drive can stand up and speak for those that can not speak for themselves. The refuge now protects over 211 bird species, more than 200 plant species, 31 mammal species, and 40 species of reptiles and amphibians[i]. Although the bald eagle species is no longer extinct it does not mean that they no longer require protection. There is countless development all around the Chesapeake Bay area and there is no telling how it is impacting the wildlife around the area. Upscale development can be seen in the recently established MGM National Harbor Hotel & Casino upstream of Mason Neck on the Maryland side of the Potomac River. Pollutants can travel downstream towards the refuge, along with the increase in property values that can lead to further residential development on the shorelines of the Potomac River. Studies like the ones previously mentioned state that further studies are necessary to gather more of an understanding of the behaviors of bald eagles. These studies are difficult to conduct and require the latest technology to be able to navigate and locate the birds. The future of preservation requires the same attitude of the past with the technology of tomorrow in order to show those in power the beauty of the living history exiting in our backyards.
[i] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, About the Refuge.