What is it? Coastal area where freshwater from rivers and streams mixes with saltwater from the ocean
The daily tidal cycle at the Kachemak Bay National Estuarian Reserve in Alaska
Areas Found Chesapeake Bay largest New Jersey – Barnegat Bay – Delaware Estuary – New York- New Jersey Harbor
Interesting Facts Often called bays, sounds, harbors Brackish Water- heavier salt water sink, the lighter fresh water rises Positive: precipitation and runoff exceed evaporation and sea water is diluted. Neutral: runoff + precipitation = evaporation Negative or inverse estuaries: no freshwater runoff.
Producers Johnson’s Seagrass Water lillies Mangrove trees Marsh grasses, rushes and sedges grow in salt marshes Algae Plankton
Consumers (Organisms that do not create their own food must either eat plants or other animals) Birds: Canadian Goose, Turn, Goldeneye, Peregrine Falcon, Great-blue Heron, Western Sandpiper Mammals: Harbor Seal, River Otter Sea Creatues: Starfish, Clams, Mussels, Shrimp, Hermit Crabs, Fish: Trout, Salmon, Flounder, Perch
Food Web Primary producers to consumers Primary – bacterial decomposition into organic detritus – animals that feed on plankton and these are the most abundant species of vertebrates – carnivores (predators) occupy the highest level obtaining energy by eating animals that feed on plankton and detritus Predators: Trophic level is inverted because most carnivorous species are at the top of the food web!
Resources Estuaries provide water filtration and habitat protection Birds, fish, amphibians, insects, and other wildlife depend on estuaries to live, feed, nest, and reproduce Some fish and migratory birds only live in estuaries for part of there lives More than 75 percent of the U.S. commercial fish caught live in estuaries
Concerns Estuaries are very important and are in danger of disappearing if measures aren’t taken to save them People fill wetland to create communities and farmers have blocked tidal flow to turn marshlands into pasture In 2000, only 49% of all estuaries had good water quality The Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve
Preserving and Restoring IN an effort to help protect them, Congress created the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) in 1972 Efforts have been made to restore polluted or destroyed estuaries In 2000, the Estuary Restoration Act (ERA) was signed into law The ERA’s goal is to save one million acres of destroyed estuaries Estuary reserves in the US
Endangered Species (Tijuana Estuary) California Least Tern Western Snowy Plover Light-Footed Clapper Rail Least Bell's Vireo Belding's Savannah Sparrow