Estuary: is a coastal area where freshwater from rivers and streams mix with saltwater from the ocean.
Estuaries are protected from the full force of the ocean by mudflats, sandspits and barrier islands.
Estuaries are often called the NURSERIES of the ocean becuase many fish species lay their eggs in estuaries. The abundant/plentiful plant life in estuaries provides a safe place for young fish to live.
Estuaries are known by many different names such as bays, sounds, inlets, harbors, and sloughs. Not all bodies of water with these names are estuaries. They must feature the mixing of fresh and salt water to be a true estuary. Estuaries are found throughout the world, with more than 100 along the United States coasts alone.
- Acre for acre, estuaries are among the most biologically productive ecosystems on earth.
- Estuaries serve as buffers, protecting shorelines from erosion and flooding.
- Estuaries filter pollutants, improving water quality.
Hawaiian Translation: Nuku muliwai
Kaelepulu wetland in Kailua,Oahu.
To learn more about estuaries go to:
To watch a video on estuaries.
Returning to WebQuest? Close this window to continue