Estuaries are coastal areas where salt water from the sea mixes with fresh water from rivers. They are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth.
Whether they’re called a bay, sound, bayou, harbor, inlet, slough, or lagoon, estuaries are the transition area between the land and the sea. Some familiar examples of estuaries include the Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound, and San Francisco Bay.
Why are Estuaries so Important?
Threats to Estuaries
- Estuaries are essential habitat for wildlife.
- Two-thirds of the fish and shellfish caught in the U.S. depend on estuaries for their survival.
- Wetlands on the shores of estuaries protect human communities from flooding.
- Estuaries provide important recreational opportunities, such as swimming, boating, birding and hiking.
Estuaries, however, are easily altered and degraded by human activities. Pollution, sedimentation, and other threats can damage the habitat that so many wildlife populations depend on for survival. NERRA works to protect estuaries and coastal ecosystems and to safeguard these irreplaceable resources for future generations.