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Take the Tour

An estuary is a partially enclosed body of water where fresh water from rivers and streams mixes with salt water from the ocean.


  1. The Estuary | RiverVenture.
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Estuaries are areas of transition between the land and the sea. They are often called bays, harbors, inlets or sounds. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest of more than estuaries in the United States.

A ride on the estuary

The other half drains into the Bay from its enormous 64,square-mile watershed. Estuaries are among the most productive environments on earth, creating more organic matter each year than similarly-sized forests and agricultural areas. Estuaries also provide diverse habitats for wildlife and aquatic life, protect our communities against flooding, reduce pollution to waterways, and support local economies through commercial and recreational activities.

What is an estuary?

Estuaries provide many different types of habitats, including shallow waters , open waters , marshes and wetlands , sandy beaches, mud flats and oyster reefs. Thousands of species of wildlife and aquatic life, including fish , crabs, birds and mammals , depend on estuarine habitats for their survival.

These estuarine reserves provide essential habitat for wildlife, offer educational opportunities for students, and serve as living laboratories for scientists. Humans also rely on estuaries for food, recreation, jobs, and coastal protection.

The estuary of the Hudson River, U. S. A

Of the 32 largest cities in the world, 22 are located on estuaries! Home Ocean Facts What is an estuary?

What is an estuary? The Estuary—where fresh and saltwater mix. Search Our Facts. Did you know?