America's Great Outdoors

Discover NOAA's Sanctuaries and Reserves

National Marine Sanctuary System

Within the protected borders of national marine sanctuary waters, giant humpback whales breed, temperate reefs flourish, and shipwrecks tell stories of our maritime history. Sanctuary habitats include rocky reefs, lush kelp forests, whale migrations corridors, deep-sea canyons, and underwater archaeological sites.

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National Estuarine Research Reserve System

The National Estuarine Research Reserves System protects more than 1.3 million coastal and estuarine acres in 29 reserves located in 23 states and Puerto Rico for purposes of long-term research, environmental monitoring, education and stewardship. The reserves are a partnership between NOAA and the coastal states.

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