Estuaries, formed where rivers enter the ocean and fresh water mixes with the saltwater environment, are among the most productive ecosystems on earth. They develop on deltas, where fine soil materials (sediment), are carried hundreds of miles downstream by the rivers and deposited on gentle shoreline slopes. These materials accumulate faster than they can be carried away by ocean currents, wave, and tidal action. Estuaries are most well developed where they are protected from oceanic forces by offshore islands and spits, or at the end of long fjords. This brochure describes what estuaries are, their history, ecology, where they occur, what makes them special, why they are at risk in B.C., their conservation status and how we can protect them.
Flynn, Samantha, Cadrin, Carmen; Filatow, Deepa. 2006. Estuaries in British Columbia. Ministry of Environment. Ecosystems at Risk Brochure