Happy Friday, and a happy close to National Estuaries Week! National Estuaries Week, which ran from Saturday, September 19th and ends tomorrow, celebrates an extremely important aquatic environment: the estuary!
Estuaries are transitional aquatic habitats between the ocean and the rivers or streams that flow into it, where fresh and salt water mix. Taking nutrients and resources from both land and sea, estuaries provide important habitats for many animals, whether they live there or are just passing through. Since estuaries are an important source for a lot of ocean life and are located along the shore where many communities rely on their resources, they are crucial environments for us as well. Unfortunately, like all waterways, they are not immune to marine debris. In fact, these areas are highly prone to the accumulation of debris, as they are often lined with areas of high human populations. For these reasons, working to protect and restore estuaries is essential, through the removal of debris and working to prevent debris in the future.
Here are just a few examples of the work the NOAA Marine Debris Program supports in estuaries and the waterways that directly feed them:
Removing Debris from New York’s Jamaica Bay: The American Littoral Society piloted a marine debris removal project in New York’s Jamaica Bay estuary.
SC Sea Grant Removes Abandoned Vessels in Charleston Harbor: The South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium removes derelict vessels and other marine debris from the Charleston Harbor estuary using community-based initiatives.
Reducing Marine Debris by Targeting Youth and Teenage Litterers: The Alice Ferguson Foundation educates teenage litterers in the Potomac River watershed, which empties into the Chesapeake Bay estuary.