NOAA 03-R453
Contact: Theresa Eisenman
NOAA News Releases 2003
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Estuaries from across the United States will be featured on a special live webcast this Thursday and Friday, Sept. 25-26 as part of National Estuary Day, a joint program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Estuarine Research Reserves and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Estuary Programs. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

National Estuaries Day, which is Saturday Sept. 27, is an interagency campaign to promote the importance of estuaries and the need to protect them. The feature event for National Estuaries Day 2003 is “EstuaryLive,” an interactive journey through our nation’s estuaries for students of all ages. The entire voyage takes place over the Internet, so one can join from home or classroom. “EstuaryLive” takes place on a computer near you on Sept. 25 and 26, 2003.

This year’s “EstuaryLive” program features eight states and their National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERR) and National Estuary Programs (NEP) estuaries: New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Oregon and Washington. Visit: for the complete list of participating sites and their activity schedules.

During the program, naturalists from NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserves and U.S. EPA’s National Estuary Programs will take participants on a journey through each unique ecosystem. Participants can interact with the tour guides by emailing questions during the field trips. Many of these questions will be answered live during the broadcast.

An estuary can be a bay, lagoon or slough. These important coastal habitats are used as spawning grounds and nurseries for at least two-thirds of the nation's commercial fish and shellfish. The wetlands associated with estuaries buffer uplands from flooding.

Estuaries also provide many recreational opportunities, such as swimming, boating, and bird watching.

The “EstuaryLive” program was created by NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System in 1998 as an education offering through the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve. Over the past five years, it has become a national program, taking participants on field trips through more than 20 of our nation’s estuaries. Approximately one million viewers participated in 2002.

Some highlights from last year’s field trips include:

  • using radio telemetry equipment to track Eastern box turtles and sora rails from the Chesapeake Bay;
  • sampling water quality in South Carolina;
  • learning about the cultural and biological history of the Neuse River in North Carolina;
  • following the life cycle of the Dungeness Crab and learning about their recreational and commercial importance in Oregon;
  • discovering how robots are being used to study the coastal ocean in New Jersey;
  • diving for fish in Washington;
  • learning about the types and impacts of pollution in estuaries in Massachusetts;
  • and exploring bogs with bug eating plants in Alabama.

The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is part of NOAA’s National Ocean Service which is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. NOAA’s Ocean Service balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:


NOAA National Ocean Service:

National Estuary Day:

NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve System:

U S. EPA's National Estuary Program: