Croatan Sound

By: Vivian Hornstein

An Introduction to Estuaries

Ever wondered about estuaries? I mean, you're bound to have heard of them somewhere. Most likely in school. Learned about a few, and it just goes in one ear and out the other right?

But when you stop and think about it, estuaries are a very important piece in keeping our environment healthy. They provide goods that both help the economy and the environment. And on top of that, estuaries filter out sediments and pollutants from rivers & streams before the water hits the ocean. They are just something that we just can't get rid of.


Typically called nurseries of the sea, they contain many different species of wildlife. From birds such as the Great Egret or the Blue Heron, to shellfish such as hermit crabs and clams, to grasses like smooth cord grass, sea grass, and spike grass.


Estuaries contain many beautiful wonders. You just have to know which one is the most beautiful. And that my friends, is the Croatan Sound.

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Quick Facts: Croatan Sound

The Croatan Sound is in between Roanoke Island and the towns of Wanchese and Manteo in the northern part of North Carolina. So if you happen to be taking a vacation to Roanoke, chances are you're going to pass over Croatan Sound. Don't be afraid to take in it's beauty.


Croatan Sound is about 4-6 miles wide, so it looks more like a river than anything. It's native wildlife is the cormorants, pelicans, ibises, egrets, and herons. So if you're lucky, you might catch sight of one or two of these beautiful birds resting in the water. It connects Pamlico Sound with Albemarle Sound which are two other very beautiful sounds.

THREATS TO ESTUARIES!!

Estuaries are beautiful. They are full of life and provides for the plants, the animals, and the humans. But these beautiful estuaries are in danger and are being contaminated. Most North Carolina estuaries are being harmed by changing land bordering and the mix of river and ocean water. Since humans are making new homes and projects all over the place things like bridges, roads, sewage systems, and pipelines are changing the direction of estuaries, which isn't healthy for it at all. Also, making room in estuaries, dredging, for large boats to pass through estuaries is stirring up a lot of sediment and clouds the water in the estuary, making it harder on the aquatic life. The sediment floating in the water causes more sediment deposition which means more dredging has to happen to remove the cloudiness. Any sort of runoff from the mainland, things like grime from a construction site to something as serious as toxic waste, which is harmful to plants, animals, and humans. There are constant threats to our estuaries, we just need to do all we can to keep them safe and healthy.