Estuaries are highly productive ecosystems with dynamic physical, chemical, and biological properties where rivers meet the ocean or large freshwater seas, resulting in distinct physical and biological features. These features provide valuable ecosystem services, such as sediment and nutrient filtration; protection from storm energy; and habitat for plants, animals, birds, and fish. However, historic land use patterns and climate change have placed a great deal of pressure on these socioeconomically and biologically productive ecosystems, resulting in stresses that threaten their long-term vitality.

The University of Michigan Water Center and partners are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to coordinate the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative. Through this program, we support research, assessment, and transfer activities that address critical coastal management issues identified by the NERRS in order to improve the long-term stewardship of the nation’s valuable estuaries.