Pamlico Sound

Outer Banks, North Carolina

The importance of estuaries

An estuary is any place where freshwater and saltwater combines. Estuaries are important to nature because they help control erosion and also help reduce flooding on the main land. The sandbars and plant life help keep the water levels under control so the risk of flooding occurrence goes down dramatically. Estuaries are also a type of environmental filter as for the plants and animals by helping filter extra pollutants out of the water.

Animal Life

One animal that is located in the Pamlico Sound is the Loggerhead Sea Turtle. This reptile likes warm climates. Another animal that could be found around the sound is the Bald Eagle. This beautiful bird lives around the sound since the birds diet consists of small fish that can be found in the sound. The nesting sights of dolphins have been found throughout the Pamlico Sound near the edge concluding these mammals take place living in the sound for periods of time. The beautiful but endangered leatherback sea turtle also lives in the Pamlico Sound since it is a safer habitat than just living out in open waters. Finally, the second largest shark to live in the ocean, the Basking Shark, also calls the Pamlico Sound its home for a little while.


One waterway that is on the coast of North Carolina and runs by the Pamlico Sound is Lake Mattamuskeet. This lake is the largest lake in North Carolina, but only averages 2-3 feet deep. Another waterway that runs into the Pamlico sound is the Tar River, which runs directly into the sound from the coast into the coastline. The last waterway that runs into the Sound is the Neuse River. This river also runs from the inner coast to the outer coast kine to mix with the sound.

Threats to NC Estuaries

Thousands of people are moving to the North Carolina Cost every year which is causing pressure on the sound. The population that lives close to the sound is putting the ecosystem in danger since leaky pipes or chemicals that they put on their lawn can eventually get to the sound through runoff and cause harm to the animal and plant life located there. The building of these houses and attractions are causing animals to loose their habitats, driving them away to try and adapt to a new place.