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Estuarine Research Reserves iconEstuaries Roadmap to Resources


The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Home Page

This is the Home Page of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS.) Through the NERRS home page you can access general information about the NERRS Program, read detailed information about the location and activities of each of the 26 NERRS sites throughout the United States, and access each reserve’s individual Web site. There is also information about training and fellowship opportunities, as well as restoration initiatives, invasive species, and links to additional organizations that deal with estuaries.

The NERRS Centralized Data Management Office (CDMO) Web Site

This Web site provides an overview of the NERRS System-wide Monitoring Program (SWaMP) at 25 NERRS sites across the country, as well as the meteorological and water quality data collected through SWaMP from 1995 to 2003. “Getting Physical with Estuaries” in the Lesson Plan section of the Estuaries Discovery Kit presents a formal exercise using this Web site and explains in detail how to download and manipulate the data this site presents.

North Carolina NERRS Home Page

In North Carolina Currituck Banks, Rachel Carson, Masonboro Island, and Zeke’s Island are designated as National Estuarine Research Reserves. The Web site includes aerial views and descriptions of each of the reserve sites, videos, virtual field trips, and lesson plans for students and educators, as well as weather and water data and detailed information as to how it is collected.

North Carolina NERRS Coastal Communities Services Page

This page provides links to videos and PowerPoint presentations, scientific papers and additional Web sites on important coastal science information, including nonpoint source pollution, septic systems, groundwater, public health, and salt-marsh ecology.


South Slough NERRS Home Page

From this page you can access information on research, education, stewardship and restoration activities taking place at the South Slough NERRS site.

Maps of South Slough NERRS and Vicinity

This Web page provides links to maps on Oregon estuaries, Coos estuary, the South Slough watershed, as well as county, state, and national parks and campgrounds near the South Slough NERRS site.

The International Brant Monitoring Project Page

The International Brant Monitoring Project follows the migration of a small sea goose, the Brant. The project relates the importance of local ecosystems and global environmental health through the observation of Brant and the sharing of information between participants in the United States, Canada, and Russia.

South Slough NERRS Stewardship Program Page

From this page you can access detailed information on tideland restoration projects at the South Slough NERRS site, and how restoration projects help local salmon populations.

South Slough NERRS Feature Series

This is a series of 54 illustrated articles that discuss a range of subjects relating to estuaries. Articles include factors that effect estuaries (e.g., tides, pollution), organisms that live in estuaries and their relationship to one another, geology and global warming.

Tijuana River NERRS Home Page

From this page you can access information on research, restoration, management and educational activities taking place at the Tijuana NERRS site.

(top) Web Site

This Web site features background materials for students and many classroom activities for educators on subjects relating to estuaries. The site also presents online video field trips from the Estuaries Live program, a prominent feature of National Estuaries Day. During the program, scientists and naturalists escort participants through the unique ecosystems at more than 15 estuarine reserves.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Estuary Home Page

The EPA National Estuary Home Page contains links to a wide range of resources that provide research and educational information related to estuarine ecosystems and the many factors that impact them. Information on watersheds, water quality monitoring, and nonpoint source pollution are just some of the excellent materials that can be accessed from this Web page.

The US EPA Manual for Volunteer Estuary Monitoring

This comprehensive manual provides excellent information about estuaries, their ecology, and how they are threatened. It also discusses how to conduct physical, chemical, and biological monitoring of estuaries, and how to interpret, manage, and present the data collected from these efforts. The manual is available as a PDF document (396 pages, 12Mb.) Due to the manual’s large file size, it may require substantial time to download and print.

The US EPA Exploring Estuaries Kids Page
This Web site introduces kids of various ages to the ecology of estuaries, and the challenges facing estuaries today. The Web site offers interactive games and activities as well as hands-on tours of specific estuaries around the country. A glossary page defines technical terms used throughout the site. Resources are also provided for teachers and students interested in learning more about related organizations, publications, and Web sites.

NOAA National Ocean Service (NOS) Education Tides and Water Levels Discovery Kit

The Tides and Water Levels Discovery Kit presents an overview of the complex systems that govern the movement of tides and water levels. This is particularly relevant to understanding the organization of estuarine ecosystems. It includes many illustrations and interactive graphics to enhance the text. A roadmap to data resources directs you to real-time tidal and current data, and lesson plans focus on the forces that cause and affect tides, analysis of the variations in tidal patterns and what conditions may cause them, and the effect of lunar cycles on living organisms.


NOAA NOS Essay and Links on Coastal Monitoring and Observations

This essay discusses three major classes of coastal observations and monitoring that NOAA’s National Ocean Service undertakes within U.S. territorial waters. The first class measures environmental features simultaneously across large geographic areas. This includes coral reef and shoreline mapping, as well as harmful algal bloom monitoring. The second class characterizes chemical, physical, meteorological, or biological properties by making repeated measurements at selected sites throughout a region. The NERRS System-wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) is an example of this type of monitoring program. The third class usually involves intensive and frequent measurements of environmental conditions at only a few sampling locations. This third class of monitoring allows scientists to identify, measure, and potentially link environmental changes detected by the other two types of monitoring with the causes of these changes.

NOAA's Estuarine Living Marine Resources (ELMR) Data Base

The ELMR Program presents a database on the distribution, relative abundance, and life history characteristics of ecologically and economically important fish and invertebrates in the nation's estuaries. The data base includes information for 153 species found in 122 estuaries and coastal embayments across the United States. The data base is divided into five regions: West Coast, Gulf of Mexico, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and North Atlantic. For each species, five life stages are considered: adults, juveniles, larvae, spawning, and eggs. Each estuary is subdivided into one to five salinity zones. “Eyes on the Estuaries” in the Lesson Plan section of the Estuaries Discovery Kit presents a formal exercise using this Web site and explains in detail how to download and manipulate the data this Web site presents.

The COOL (Coastal Ocean Observation Laboratory) Classroom

This is a series of Internet-based instructional modules designed to provide information on research, technology, data, and oceanographic careers related to coastal marine science being conducted at Rutgers University and the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve.


Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM) Home Page

The VIMS CCRM Home Page provides many links to informational and data resources relating to wetlands ecology, ecosystem science, and policy and management.

VIMS CCRM Map Gallery for the James and York Rivers

This page allows access to a gallery of maps for the James and York river watersheds in eastern Virginia. Maps highlight land use and planning, recreational areas, and natural resource inventories. To access the map galleries, scroll down to the bottom of the page and select the gallery that you would like to view. When the galleries appear, you can select the map that you would like to view from a series of pull-down menus at the top of the page.

VIMS CCRM Chesapeake Bay Watch Videos

This page contains a series of videos on the living resources and natural history of Chesapeake Bay. Topics include plant and animal ecology, seasonal changes in the bay, oyster reef restoration, and shoreline mapping.

VIMS CCRM Teaching Marsh

The VIMS Teaching Marsh is is a one-acre marshland that has been restored to naturally remove contaminants from local bridge stormwater runoff, provide a demonstration area for wetland plant species, and educate the public about the functions and values of tidal wetlands. Through the links at the top of this Web page, you can take a virtual tour of the site, and get detailed descriptions and view images of more than 32 plant species.

VIMS CCRM Additional Links

This Web page contains links to more than 50 Web sites presenting information and data on subjects relating to the Chesapeake Bay, wetlands, coastal management, and wildlife.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Graphics for Educators

These are downloadable posters and activities graphics for educators on a variety of topics effecting the bay. Graphics  include: The Dead Zone, Effects of Nutrient Pollution, Trends in Blue Crabs: Maryland and Virginia, Decimated Oyster Population, and Nitrogen Loading of Chesapeake Bay.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) Oceanography Web Site; Habitats Page

On the Habitats Page of ONR’s Oceanography Web Site is a section devoted to the characteristics and biota of estuaries. It also includes an interactive quiz for students. In the Teachers’ Corner section of the Web site are animations on tidal phenomena, as well as links to additional resources for use in the classroom.


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