Roanoke Sound

The importance of Preserving It and Other Estuaries


One of the most loved and visited locations of The NC Outer Banks, the Roanoke Sound, a back barrier estuary, is located between Roanoke Island and the middle of the Outer Banks. It is a plentiful estuary, full of fishing activity and sporting opportunities. Some bodies of water that flow into the Roanoke Sound are the neighboring Croatian Sound, the Pamlico Sound, and The Oregon Inlet.

History and Importance Of the Estuary

The Lost Colony opted to live on Roanoke Island, NC, because it was easy to get to and had the plentifully stocked sound that we now know as the Roanoke Sound. This estuary is not only important because of historical reasons, but because of the fishing industry of the NC Outer Banks that depends on it for their main export; seafood.

The marine life in the estuary is not only important to the people of the Outer Banks, but to the estuary itself. The bacteria phytoplankton provide food and balance in the estuary, allowing clams and oysters to build up barrier walls, which make it hard for erosion to occur. Among the clams and oysters are fish, such as black sea bass and flounder, which search for the food that hides in the beds of mollusks, like stone crabs and grass shrimp. The crabs and shrimp keep the phytoplankton populations in check, as the fish keep the crabs and shrimp in check.

Photo Gallery

Threats To Estuaries

Some threats specific to back barrier estuaries include overfishing, sound erosion, and motor boat, oil, and wastewater pollution.