Seffen and Moravichik introduce estuaries by explaining the way the freshwater from rivers flow to the sea and mix with the saltwater. Estuaries are Nature’s water blender because in coastal regions the freshwater from rivers meets the salt water of the ocean and are mixed in several different ways. The diverse mixture of salt water to fresh water creates different habitats with a complex ecosystem. Estuaries are important to the environment as well as the economy. Estuaries have very different temperatures and precipitation averages because of the different regions where they can be found. Keeping estuaries healthy is an important job throughout the world. Estuary biomes are full of surprises (Seffen & Moravichik, 2008).
According to the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, estuaries are really important to the economy and environment of every continent where they can be found. In the United States alone 75% of commercial fishing is provided from the habitat of estuaries. That adds $4.3 billion a year from estuaries to our economy. A healthy habitat from estuaries allows us continued survival for many birds, animals, reptiles, and varied aquatic life. Estuaries also provide recreation and the tourism is another boost to the economy (EPA, 2012).
Estuaries offer many benefits. The natural barrier they provide can help prevent floods, they help filter the water in our oceans, the fish there are a major source of protein as well as helping maintain the fish population in the ocean. Estuaries also provide jobs, recreation, Since they are the most productive ecosystems in the world they are extremely important to mankind. It is not surprising that the biggest threat to estuaries is mankind. They have been filled in, dredged, or over built, damaging the fragile existence
ESTUARIES – NATURE’S WATER BLENDER 3
within the ecosystem. Pollution caused by people is another threat to the health of our estuaries (Seffen & Moravichik, 2008).
Looking at a map of the world you would find estuaries around coastal regions. There is one in Alaska, many around the coast lines of the United States, both in the east and west, South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, five on the southern coast of Australia, and some in new Zealand. There are approximately 150 major estuaries around the world, and many less recognized estuaries around the world (Dvornich, 2008).
There are four main types of estuaries. The Coastal Plain estuary is the result of the end of the ice age. When the ice melted the water level in the ocean rose.
Chesapeake Bay, MD is the largest Coastal Plain estuary in the United States. Tectonic estuaries are formed because the earths crust is constantly moving. When cracks are created and the land sinks or moves back the seawater fills the low area left from the shift of the land. San Francisco bay is a well-known Tectonic estuary. Bar Built estuaries are commonly found along coasts...