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Return to Welcome to Estuaries

This image shows the eastern half of North America as viewed from space. If you roll over the image with your mouse, you can see that most of the land area drains into three major bodies of water, the Great Lakes, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Wherever freshwater rivers drain into these larger bodies of water, estuarine habitats are found.

The yellow squares in the image indicate some of the North American estuaries that contain NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserves.

map of estuaries


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