Be River Proud

Bays & Estuaries

Nurturing the Nurseries

Sea turtle under water

Bays and estuaries are also nurseries for popular recreational fish species. The health of these nurseries is directly linked to the recreational fishing opportunities at the coast, one of the many ways people enjoy these natural areas.

Seagrasses are submerged aquatic grasses providing many important eco-services for an estuary to thrive. It produces oxygen, which is essential for life, and also offers a place for animals to feed and take shelter. These characteristics make seagrasses the perfect nursery habitat for shrimp, fish, and shellfish. You may also find sea turtles there!

Sea grass

Seagrasses also help with erosion control. They have special roots allowing them to grow in the areas where salinity increases. The roots also retain sediment, which helps maintain clean water. Who knew grasses could do so much!

This is only a small sample of the biodiversity in the area. Different species have developed a unique tolerance to the level of salinity in their habitat. So, some thrive in fresh water while others need salt water, and some live in brackish water, which is a combination of the two. There are also mammals who inhabit the land surrounding the waterways.

Explore the photo below to learn more about the plants and animals who call the bay and estuary home, or click here to see Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s full list of coastal wetlands species.

Illustration of species in the Texas Coastal Wetlands