Bays and Estuaries

By: Christopher White & Jordan Haley & Chris & Briton

Bays and Estuaries

Bays and Estuaries are where streams or rivers mix with seawater, forming brackish water. Bays and Estuaries differ because bays are partially enclosed and directly connected to the ocean, whole estuaries are partly enclosed bodies of water along the coast. They are similar because they both form brackish water and support the same types of species.

Freshwater Inflow

Freshwater inflow is important because it maintains the natural salinity, nutrient, and sediment loading regimes that support the communities of each estuary and bay.

Hypersaline Bay

A hypersaline bay is one where salinity levels often exceed those of seawater, such as the Corpus Christi bay.

Coastal Wetland Plants

Arrow Arum, Pickerelweed, Soft rush, Rose mallow, Reed grass, Button bush, Marsh mallow, and Narrow-leaved cattail are all plants found in coastal wetlands.

Species Adaptations

Closely related species adapt differently as they adapt to normal rainfall patterns in the estuaries and bays. These species have to adapt to the local freshwater inflow or they will die out.

Tides

Tides are the alternating rise and fall of the sea caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun. Tides differ from place to place depending on how close it is to the moon. Tides can be from just a few feet to 30 feet!

Texas Birds

You would go to the Texas coast to bird watch because large amounts lf songbirds migrate there in April and May. The Texas coast is also very important to birds from Canada and Venezuela as it has semi-tropical weather and has the food to support rare species from all over the world, such as whooping crane, which feeds on blue crabs in the gulf.

The Economics

Oil production is the largest economy in Texas, with tourism being the third largest. This tourism is greatly helped by the fishing industry as many people come to fish the rare species found on the Texas coast.

Seafood and Water Conservation

The coastal habitats of Texas rely on freshwater coming from the north, meaning that a lack of water conservation in Dallas, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio is leading to the loss of many habitats.

How Can You Help?

You can help maintain healthy coastal ecosystems in Texas by conserving water, not polluting, and supporting conservation groups that restore coastal habitats.