Roanoke Sound

Peyton Conley

Importance of Estuaries

Estuaries are vital habitats for thousands of marine species. Estuaries have been called the "nurseries of the sea" because the protected environment and abundant food provide an ideal location for fish and shellfish to reproduce.

More about Estuaries

Estuaries are bodies of water and their surrounding coastal habitats typically found where rivers meet the sea. Estuaries harbor unique plant and animal communities because their waters are brackish—a mixture of fresh water draining from the land and salty seawater.

Rivers and plants in Roanoke Sound


The Roanoke Sound Estuary is a rich habitat for a variety of plant, animal and bird life. Cattails, saw grass, giant cord grass and black needle rush provide habitats for many waterfowl and serve as fish nurseries. The sound is also home to the Blue Crab, an important commercial fisheries industry in North Carolina.