Pamlico Sound

Why are estuaries important?

Estuaries are a very important ecosystem because they provide a very unique habitat that many animals need at some point in their life. Estuaries also provide things for humans such as tourism and fisheries. Estuaries also perform other valuable services. Water draining from uplands carries sediments, nutrients, and other pollutants to estuaries. As the water flows through wetlands such as swamps and salt marshes, much of the sediments and pollutants are filtered out. This filtration produces cleaner and clearer water, which benefits everyone.


The Pamlico soundis where logerhead sea turtles hatch found at the outer banks in between the main land and the barrier islands. There are many other species of fish h as well. Those species include speckled trout, puppy or slot drum (redfish), flounder, and striped bass. Gray trout, spadefish, sheapshead, tautogs, bluefish, spanish mackerel, and a host of other species in the Pamlico Sound can also be found. The Pamlico sound is also an excellent place for shark fishing.


When land is developed for human habitation and use, roads, bridges, culverts, sewage systems, pipelines, and dams change the flow of water through the ecosystem. Whereas wetlands soak up water like a sponge and settle contaminants in the ground, asphalt and concrete deflect water so that it runs off with all its contaminants directly into the rivers, estuaries, and the sea. There are many other components that pose threats to estuaries but this is one of the main ones that we can fix. We need estuaries to prevent shoreline erosion, buffer the impact of storms, filter and neutralize contaminants, and produce fish and shellfish to feed ourselves and our livestock.

Photo: pekin-landfill-001.jpg


The Tar river and the Neuse river are the two main rivers that flow into the Pamlico sound. The other waterways that flow into the Pamlico sound are tributaries of the Tar and Neuse rivers.