NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management partners with state programs to protect and responsibly develop our coastal areas, and promote stewardship, research and education at estuarine reserves.
Join us as state Coastal Zone Program and National Estuarine Research Reserve managers share their perspectives on the value of and challenges facing our nation’s coasts. Here they describe their unique coastal areas.
One reason coastal areas are so important to Americans is because of their natural beauty and importance to wildlife. For example, estuaries, places where rivers enter the ocean, are crucial spawning areas for many commercial and recreational fish and shellfish. They also buffer upland areas from flooding and shoreline erosion.
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a network of 27 estuarine areas established across the nation for long-term stewardship, research, and education. The sites within the estuarine reserve system protect more than 1.3 million acres of land and water in 23 states and Puerto Rico. Reserves range in size from the 365,000-acre Kachemak Bay in Alaska to the 571-acre Old Woman Creek in Erie County, Ohio.