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About Estuaries Logo Our Estuaries
Estuarine Research Reserves are Our National Treasures     

Your Estuaries
An Estuary Is:
A semi-enclosed body of water which has a free connection to the open sea and within which seawater is measurably diluted by fresh water derived from land drainage.

The NERRS Partnership:

NOAA provides funding, national guidance and technical assistance. Each reserve is managed on daily basis by a lead state agency or university, with input from local partners.

Number of Reserves:

Coastal Areas Protected:
More than 1.3 million acres of land and water.

NERRS Vision

Healthy estuaries and coastal watersheds where coastal communities and ecosystems thrive.

To practice and promote coastal and estuarine stewardship through innovative research and education, using a system of protected areas.


Twenty-eight estuarine reserve sites make up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS). These sites are located in 22 of the 35 U.S coastal states and protect over 1.3 million acres of coastal land and waters from Alaska to Puerto Rico.

The NERRS is a partnership program between NOAA and the coastal states. The reserves are protected for long-term research, water-quality monitoring, education and coastal stewardship. Twenty-three reserves have Environmental Learning and Interpretation Centers which, in several cases, include research laboratories, classrooms, an auditorium and a visitor center. These centers generally offer a variety of hands-on experiences and interactive exhibits which address research and stewardship efforts of the reserve. Some offer a nature store, gallery and picnic area.

It all adds up to amazing and beautiful areas that you can connect to virtually through this site, or visit, if you find yourself in the area of a reserve. And it’s all part of our national system of estuaries!

Learn More...




Last Updated on: 06-06-2011


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