What are they? Estuaries are the rich mixing zones where freshwater from the land meets salt water from the sea This blend – a.k.a. brackish water – creates a unique environment with abundant life.
Why are they special? Estuaries are a critical link to ocean health through the role they provide in both water quality and
fish/shellfish rearing, refuge and production. Therefore all our ocean species are dependent on estuary health through the critical land-sea connection. Estuaries gather nutrients from both land and sea, forming an ecosystem that contains more life per square inch than the richest Midwest farmland. More than 75 percent of our nation's commercial fish catch relies on them for habitat.
Why are they important in Oregon? Oregon’s 22 “major” estuaries are ecologically essential for many fish and wildlife species, including salmon, herring, flounder, crab, oysters, clams, wading birds, ducks, geese, shorebirds and harbor seals. They provide migration routes as well as habitat for reproduction, rearing, resting and foraging. They provide migration routes as well as habitat for reproduction, rearing, resting and foraging.
Do they affect the economy? Coastal communities rely on Oregon’s estuaries for deep draft shipping, commercial fishing, port facilities, recreational use and other activities dependent on water access.
TWC’s acquisition, stewardship and community outreach work in the Yaquina, Beaver Creek and Alsea estuaries support estuary conservation that prevents losses and restores high salt marsh, wetland function and value of these important habitats for salmon, shellfish and birds.