Estuaries: Where the River Meets the Sea


Estuaries…
where fresh water rivers meet the salty open sea. There is a lot to love in an estuary! A popular destination for fishing, boating,
birding, and hiking, estuaries are a beautiful place to be. Miles of beaches,
flowing grasses, marshes, creeks and streams. This salty freshwater mix is where life begins
and is the nursing grounds for 75% of the fish we catch. Estuaries are lined with marshes and sea grasses
that filter water flowing to the ocean and act as a buffer protecting us from coastal
storms. NOAA works closely with coastal states to manage the National Estuarine Research Reserve System of 28 protected areas along the nation’s
coasts. These valuable reserves are living laboratories
for scientists, and exciting, hands-on classrooms for students and teachers. At the reserves, scientists study sea level
rise, water pollution, erosion and impacts of human development. These studies provide
strong scientific knowledge to help us create healthy, productive estuaries. The Chesapeake Bay, the Ace Basin in South
Carolina and San Francisco Bay in California are just a few of the 28 reserves that can
be found near you. So visit an estuary and experience first-hand the beauty and wildlife where the river meets the sea.

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