Estuaries face a host of common challenges. Because we love and depend on the water, more than half of the people in the United States live within 100 miles of the coast, including on the shores of estuaries. And more and more people are moving to these areas. Coastal communities are growing three times faster than counties elsewhere in the country.
Unfortunately, as more people flock to the shore, we are upsetting the natural balance of estuaries and threatening their health. We endanger our estuaries by polluting the water and building on the lands surrounding them. These activities can contribute to unsafe drinking water, beach and shellfish bed closings, harmful algae blooms, declines in fisheries, loss of habitat, fish kills, and a host of other human health and natural resource problems.
Click on a photo to find out more about the challenges estuaries face.