About Estuaries



If you live in the coastal United States, there’s a good chance you live near an estuary, though you may not know it! Estuaries often go by more familiar names like Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound, or South Slough.

Places where rivers meet the sea or a lake, estuaries brim with life—more life per square inch than the richest Midwest farmland. This vitality has attracted people to live, work, and play near estuaries for thousands of years.

Estuaries are places for fishing, swimming, boating, hiking and many other activities. They are home to busy ports that fuel local and regional economies. They also protect our health and well-being by improving water quality, reducing flooding and erosion, supporting commercially important fish and wildlife, and providing many other valuable benefits.

Increased pressure from development and climate change is putting these special places at risk. Reserves are dedicated to the idea that through science, education, and collaboration, we can find ways for people to live in balance with coastal environments and protect them for generations to come.

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About Estuaries