By: Emily Davis


The Core Sound is located in eastern North Carolina between the mainland of Carteret County and Core Banks, part of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, located west of the Atlantic Ocean and west of Bogue Sound.


Estuaries are important natural places, which provide goods and services that are economically and ecologically indispensable. These "nurseries of the sea", as they are often called, also provide vital nesting and feeding habitats for many aquatic plants and animals. Estuaries are helpful in controlling erosion and they reduce flooding if the mainland. They are also a type of environmental filter as plants and animals filter pollutants out of the water. We need estuaries to prevent shoreline erosion, buffer the impact of storms, filter and neutralize contaminants, and produce fish and shellfish to feed ourselves and our livestock.


Six examples of plants and/or animals found in Core Sound:

  • Tundra Swans
  • Sea Trout
  • Piping Plover
  • Cattails
  • Bulrushes
  • Cordgrasses


Three rivers, streams, or waterways that feed into Core Sound:

  • White Oak River
  • Neuse River
  • Cape Fear River


The complex ecosystem of North Carolina estuaries is harmed by changes to the land bordering and surrounding the estuaries and by contamination of river and ocean water. As land is developed for human habitation and use, roads, bridges, culverts, sewage systems, pipelines, and dams change the flow of water through the ecosystem. Wetlands soak up water like a sponge and settle contaminants in the ground, asphalt, and concrete deflect water so it runs off with all its contaminants directly into the rivers, estuaries, and the sea. Toxic substances (biological and chemical pollutants) and fecal matter runoff into rivers, mix with sediments, and deposit in the estuaries. These substances can harm humans, animals, and plants. Excess toxins can cause an overgrowth of plants in an estuary that can suffocate the environment by taking out too much oxygen, which in turn kills fish and other species through asphyxiation.