NC Estuaries- Pamlico Sound

By Macy Goodson

What is an Estuary?

An estuary is a body of water in which salt water from oceans and fresh water from rivers mix. This water is called brackish water. Estuaries are very important because they provide a home for many aquatic animals and plants. This ecosystem also produces lots of food for animals and humans alike.

Pamlico Sound

The Pamlico Sound is an estuary located in Eastern North Carolina, near the Outer Banks. This estuary is also the largest in North Carolina. The Neuse, Pamlico, and the Pungo Rivers feed into the Pamlico Sound.

Wildlife in the Pamlico

There are very diverse plants and animals that live in the Pamlico Sound.


Some of the animals include:

  • Red Drum
  • Flounder
  • Blue Crab
  • Leatherback Turtles
  • Oysters


Aquatic plants in the sound mainly includes various grasses that are submerged underwater.

Threats to the Pamlico

Estuaries are constantly being threatened. One of the threats being posed against the Pamlico Sound is the presence of excess nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, get into the water through runoff of pesticides and human waste. Another threat to the Pamlico Sound is development in that area and habitat loss. Humans repeatedly fill in wetland areas that are vital to the Sound. The areas that are filled in are turned into residential, agricultural, or industrial purposes.