The Roanoak Sound

Nags Head, North Carolina

What is an esturary?

An estuary is the tidal mouth of a large river , where the tide meets the stream. They act as nurseries for baby animals and serve as a safe place for protection. The amount of organisms and plants that are in an estuary help provide nutrition for resting animals.


The Roanoke Sound is a rich habitat for a variety of plant, animal, and bird life. This estuary produces a variety of plants such as The Prickly Pear Cactus, Live Oak, American Beach Grass, Trumpet Creeper, a variety of cattails , and Saw Grass. The sound is also home to the Blue Crab, an important commercial fisheries industry in North Carolina.

What is it connected to?

The Pamlico Sound, The Croatian Sound, and the Albemarle Sound are the 3 main waterways that connect to the Roanoke Estuary.

Threats to Estuaries

  • Land Clearance could change the land and threaten estuaries.
  • Agriculture can lead to increased sediment, nutrients, and bacteria in estuaries.
  • Road Building increases surface runoff that carries sediment and pollutants.
  • Coastal Settlement and many other factors contribute to the destruction of estuaries.