Types of Estuaries: Links for Students

Classifying Estuaries by Geology

Estuaries are typically classified by their existing geology or their geologic origins. The five major types of estuaries classified in this way are coastal plain, bar-built, delta, tectonic, and fjord. View animations to learn more about each of these.

Features: Graphics/Multimedia

Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), Alaska

Kachemak Bay is the largest estuarine research reserve in the NERR system. It is also one of the most productive, diverse, and intensively used estuaries in Alaska.

South Slough NERR, Oregon

South Slough is an example of a drowned river mouth estuary. It contains upland forests, freshwater wetlands and ponds, salt marshes, mud flats, eelgrass meadows, and open water habitats.

Features: A Bit of History

Weeks Bay NERR, Alabama

Weeks Bay is a small estuary receiving fresh water from the Magnolia and Fish rivers. It is fringed with marsh and swamp.

Features: A Bit of History

Old Woman Creek NERR, Ohio

Old Woman Creek is the only Great Lakes type freshwater estuary in the NERR System. The reserve features freshwater marshes, swamp forests, a barrier beach, upland forest, estuarine waters, stream and nearshore Lake Erie.

Features: A Bit of History

Tijuana River NERR, California

The Tijuana River Reserve is located in a highly urbanized environment. The reserve encompasses beach, dune, mudflat, saltmarsh, riparian, coastal sage, and upland habitats surrounded by the growing cities of Tijuana, Imperial Beach, and San Diego.

Features: A Bit of History

Sapelo Island NERR, Georgia, Site Description

This page contains a description for a sand-sharing system estuary. There are good links to descriptions of the flora and fauna found in the reserve.

Features: Data Sources, A Bit of History

Chesapeake Bay Program: The Estuary System

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest of 130 estuaries in the United States. About half of its water volume is salt water from the Atlantic Ocean. The other half drains into the bay from its enormous 64,000 square mile watershed. Learn about the complex web that makes up this ecosystem.

Features: Graphics/Multimedia

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