What are Estuaries?
Estuaries are partly closed coastal bodies of water that are connected to one or more rivers and the ocean that contain a mixture of salt and fresh water and provide habitats for large amounts of aquatic organisms. Estuaries are very shallow, allowing light to penetrate the the bottom. Multiple species choose to lay their eggs in estuaries and raise their young there because of the abundance of nutrients and protection from plants. The largest estuary in North Carolina is the Pamlico Sound.
The Importance of Estuaries
Estuaries are very important because of the resources they provide. Estuaries provide a flow of nutrients into an area where fish and plant life can thrive. Estuaries provide homes, shelter, and food for aquatic animals and plants. They are great, nutrient-rich areas where fish can lay their eggs, and many aquatic animals can raise their young. They also decrease erosion and reduce the flooding of the mainland.
Where is this Estuary Located?
The coordinates of the Pamlico Sound are 35.3128° N, 75.9372°W. It is located on the East Coast of the United States, more specifically in the state of North Carolina.
What Rivers/Lakes/Waterways Flow into the Pamlico Sound?
- The Tar River
- The Neuse River
- The Albemarle Sound
Flora & Fauna
Many plants and animals make the Pamlico Sound their permanent or temporary home. Examples of the fauna in the Pamlico Sound are things such as grasses. Many animals, or fauna, reside in the Pamlico Sound, like blue stone crab, grass shrimp, sea trout, and oysters.
Threats to the Pamlico Sound
- Decreases in SAV (Submerged Aquatic Vegetation)
- Toxic Waste Being put into the Sounds as a Way of Getting Rid of Waste
- Habitat Loss due to the Increasing Waters
- Erosion Causes Sediment to be Washed Away into the Sounds, Killing the Flora and Fauna
- Excessive Nutrients Not Needed in the Sounds