|Great Bay Estuary from the sky
Image from gundalow.org
Estuaries provide many benefits to those of us who live, work and play here including jobs in industries like agriculture, commercial fishing, power generation, tourism, shipping, and even brewing and winemaking. According to the nonprofit Restore America’s Estuaries, coastal counties provide more than half the nation’s gross domestic product and support more than 69 million jobs, or about 40% of U.S. employment.
But estuaries also provide much more than jobs and wages. They provide habitat for fish, shellfish, shorebirds, waterfowl, and other
|Birding on Great Bay’s Shores
Photo from nature.org
wildlife. The Great Bay Estuary is particularly important as a wintering area for waterfowl. Aerial surveys done by NH Fish & Game Department indicate that approximately 5,000 birds winter in NH’s coastal waters. Of these, 75% gather on Great Bay. The estuary provides much needed food to build energy for the birds’ long migratory flights. The eelgrass bed habitat is an essential place for juvenile fish and shellfish, including many commercially important species such as lobsters. The salt marshes and wetlands used by these species also provide coastal residents with protection from hurricanes, nor’easters, and other storms.
It’s important we not only understand the value of estuaries but that we work together to protect these natural treasures for future generations. PREP and our many, many partners work tirelessly on protecting, restoring and managing these fantastic and highly valued ecosystems. Our Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan lays out 82 different action plans and our State of Our Estuaries Report provides valuable science and monitoring of the current state of our waters and lands. There’s lots you can do to help in this important work – check out these simple tips.
So, how do we celebrate these areas of such rich diversity and life? Well, with a toast of course! PREP along with support from our friends at Smuttynose Brewing Company invites all those who live, work and play in the Seacoast to take a moment and Toast the Coast and Estuary on Saturday. Capture your moment in a photograph and post it up on PREP’s Facebook wall for a chance to win a prize gift basket full of Smuttynose gear and beer. The winner be selected at random from all those submitted online at Facebook.com/PREPCommunity using hashtag #ToastTheCoast.
Use Instagram or Twitter? Use #ToastTheCoast and tag @PREPCommunity
We are so lucky to have not one, but two estuaries in our Seacoast region and on this National Estuaries Day we invite you to celebrate, enjoy and join in helping to protect these infinitely fascinating places. Cheers to Estuaries!