North Carolina Estuary
IMPORTANCE OF ESTUARIES:
Estuaries HELP control erosion and reduce flooding of the mainland, they are a type of environmental filter as plants and animals in estuaries filter pollutants out of the water.
Particles in the water are either removed by chemical processes (aerobic respiration, sulfate reduction, methanogenesis) or by the feeding of estuarine animals and bacteria.
Salt marsh plants trap some of the chemicals and pathogens carried by rivers and move them into soils where they can be neutralized.
Oysters filter impurities out of water as they eat, collecting the contaminants in their bodies. Bacteria eat organic matter found in the sediment and in turn release carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfate and methane into the atmosphere preventing these gases from being excessively stored up in the estuary.
Three quarters of the fish caught commercially in the United States live in estuaries, meaning that on average, estuaries produce more food per acre than our most productive farmland. About thirty commercial fishing species live in North Carolina estuaries and this is important to the national economy and food supply.
PLANTS/ANIMALS IN THE ESTUARY:
Also this estuary contains anadromous fish.
At least 220 bird species are found in the Roanoke floodplain, including 88 resident species.
RIVERS,STREAMS AND WATERWAYS:
There are 9,299 miles of freshwater rivers and streams in the estuarine ecosystem.
The Roanoke River floodplain contains the largest and least-disturbed bottomland forest ecosystem in the eastern slope of North America, and the Albemarle-Pamlico region includes the greatest extent of pocosin wetlands in the world.
Six river basins flow in to the estuary: Chowan, Tar-Pamlico, Neuse, and Pasquotank and White Oak.
The largest river basin in the Albemarle-Pamlico region is the Roanoke.Water from 43 NC counties and 38 VA county and cities drain into the estuary.