The Roanoke Sound
Estuaries are a type of environmental filter as plants and animals in estuaries filter pollutants out of the water. 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. And of course, beaches lie along the estuaries of North Carolina where many of us go every summer to lie in the sun, swim, surf, boat, and fish.
There are more than 150 species that inhabit the North Carolina estuaries. As in any ecosystem, the plants and animals in an estuary are very interconnected, and every species depends on each other to survive. There are many threatened species living in the estuarine system like the green sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, bald eagle, and piping plover.
Water Ways that feed the Roanoke sound
The Atlantic ocean, the Currituck sound, and the Croatan sound
Threats to North Carolina's Estuaries
The ecosystem of North Carolina's estuaries is harmed by changes to the land bordering and surrounding the estuaries and by contamination of river and ocean water. Whereas wetlands soak up water like a sponge and settle contaminants in the ground, asphalt and concrete deflect water so that it runs off with all its contaminants directly into the rivers, estuaries, and the sea. According to the 2006 list of bodies of water classified as impaired by the North Carolina Division of Water Quality, shellfish harvesting was prohibited in significant areas of Back, Bogue, Stump, Topsail, Middle, Croatan, Roanoke, and Pamlico Sounds due to fecal coliform contamination.