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Spotlight: Our Nation’s Estuaries, Where the Rivers Meet the Sea

Spotlight: Our Nation’s Estuaries, Where the Rivers Meet the Sea

Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of National Estuaries Day—All Week Long - September 23-29, 2013!

Otter Come meet some of the National Estuaries' locals during the 25th Anniversary of National Estuaries Week (NOAA)

What You’ll Find

National Estuaries Day rolls in like the tide, every last Saturday in September. This year for the first time, and in recognition of the 25th anniversary, National Estuaries Day will be celebrated for an entire week, September 23-29. Established in 1988 as part of the annual Coast Weeks, this event is the inspiration for all of those who love and care for our nation’s estuaries and want to protect them for future generations.

Outdoor lovers, young and old, can experience great recreational and learning opportunities at each of the 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves throughout the country. Managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in partnership with coastal states and territories, these special reserves are set aside for long-term research and education. Recreational opportunities are also abundant such as: swimming, boating, fishing, wildlife viewing and bird watching. In some reserves you can witness sea otters and their young, manatees and great blue herons or ospreys soaring in the skies above.

Getting There

Check out this NOAA map to locate the estuarine reserve nearest you and find contact information and directions to all 28 reserves. Countless National Estuaries Day/Week activities occur nationwide, from photography contests in Florida, canoe trips in Washington, estuary clean-ups in North Carolina, exhibits at state capitals, guided estuary tours in Texas, to festivals in California.

National Public Lands Day, September 28, is another opportunity to get involved and falls right in the middle of this year’s week-long estuaries celebration.

Make Sure You

Help us spread the word about how vital estuaries are to migratory species; how they provide critical habitat for a variety of marine plants and animals; and how they help prevent coastal erosion. They are important recreational and tourist destinations and are critical for our future and the health of the oceans. Estuaries need your help and hard work to keep them clean and safe. Take action – use these 10 ways to protect estuaries.

Use these tips to learn more ways to protect estuaries!

Try This

Get involved with estuaries by visiting the reserve nearest you! Check out the events scheduled at the reserves or at other estuary locations around the country. Volunteer or become a friend of these special areas and participate in one of many educational programs offered.

Did You Know?

Estuaries are bodies of water with surrounding coastal habitats typically found where rivers meet the sea. Estuaries harbor unique plant and animal communities because their waters are brackish—where a mixture of fresh water draining from the land collides with salty seawater.

Estuaries are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world. Many animal species rely on estuaries for food and for places to nest and breed. Humans also rely on estuaries for food, recreation and jobs.