Estuaries are extraordinary places where freshwater from rivers mix with salt water from the ocean. These bays, sounds, lagoons and sloughs are inspirational sites enjoyed by boaters, swimmers, hikers, bird watchers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
In addition to providing numerous recreational opportunities, estuaries provide essential habitat for commercially important fish and shellfish. The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a partnership program between NOAA and coastal states to protect and study these important coastal resources. The national network of 25 reserves are spectacular places where researchers monitor the health of our estuaries and educators provide workshops and field trips for a variety of adult and student audiences.