8 Largest Estuaries in the US [Update 2024]

Largest Estuaries in the US

The United States is home to some of the world’s greatest natural wonders and most breathtaking landscapes. There’s an incredible variety of spots to check out and relax. You won’t ever be left out in the cold. An estuary is another example of this type of location. But what does that actually mean?

Estuaries are semi-enclosed beachfront body of salt water that receives water from at least one rivers or streams and has an unrestricted connection to the open sea.

Having said all that, let’s check out the largest estuaries in the US.

1. Chesapeake Bay

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Chesapeake Bay is one of the largest estuaries in the US

Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the US and is one of the most profitable waterways on the planet. Chesapeake watershed traverses 64,000 squares miles, covering portions of six states – Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. More than 17 million individuals live here.

The estuary and its organization of streams, springs, and waterways hold huge environmental, social, monetary, memorable, and recreational incentive for the area. 250 fish species utilize the Bay and feeders for some part of their life cycles, including American and hickory shad, stream herring, striped bass, eel, weakfish, bluefish, struggle, shellfish, and blue crabs.

Beyond what 300 transitory feathered creature species can likewise be found in the watershed. Throughout the fall, the skies wake up as 1,000,000 ducks, geese, and swans profit to overwinter for the Chesapeake.

2. San Francisco Bay Estuary

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San Francisco Bay Estuary

The San Francisco Bay estuary is situated in San Francisco and the mouth of the estuary goes into the Pacific Ocean. The surface region is around 400-1600 square miles.

The normal day by day temperature of the water is occasional, and goes from about 8º Celsius, or 46º Fahrenheit, to about 23º Celsius, or 73º Fahrenheit, and the region gets encompassed in mist.

3. Delaware Bay

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On the U.S. northeastern coast, Delaware Bay is the estuary exit of the Delaware River, and one of the largest estuaries in the US. Its size is roughly 782 square miles (2,030 sq.km.), and the pure water of the Bay combines with the seawater of the Atlantic Ocean for a considerable distance.

The Delaware Bay, which is the second-busiest waterway in the nation, is also a significant navigable system in the US. More than 30 species of migratory seabirds that travel north in May make stops for an extensive period of time in the Delaware Bay habitat.

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4. Mobile Bay

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A narrow estuary of the Gulf of Mexico, Mobile Bay is located around Alabama, and is one of the largest estuaries in the US. The north side of this bay forms an estuary as the Tensaw and Mobile rivers pour into it.

The size of Mobile Bay is 413 square miles (1,070 sq.km.). It’s horizontal length reaches up to 24 miles and measures 31 miles long.  The commercial system includes the bay’s deepest portions, which can occasionally exceed 75 feet in height, while the bay’s average depth is only 10 feet..

5. Bahía de Jobos

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The marshes, coral reefs and seagrass meadows in the estuary make up the majority of its tropical tidal habitat. Moreover, this estuary , which encompasses a total of 1140 hectares, has five different ecosystems and offers protection to a number of threatened species.

Additionally, these five different habitat types found in Jobos Bay are: corals, seaweed, mangrove swamps, floodplains and evergreen coastal forests, generally ranging from the ocean shoreline.

6. Fourche Creek

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For biological, financial and sociological factors, the Fourche Creek estuary is possibly the most significant urban estuary in the nation. The Fourche Creek purifies and empties 73% of Little Rock, the state’s capital.

Additionally, Fourche Creek is home to a large and diversified community of plants and animals as well as a central shallow root area that still serves as a wetlands.

Check out these longest beaches in the US.

7. Kaʻelepulu Pond

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Referred to as the “Enchanted Lake”, Kaelepulu Pond is a famous estuary in Kailua, Hawaii. Kaelepulu, a Hawaiian word, literally translates as “wet darkness”, in reference to the nature of this estuary.

Kaelepulu Pond is a 200–400 acre (81–162 hectare) fish pond that was eventually transformed into a fishery with 190 acres of water and 90 acres of marsh, was largely filled in and developed starting in 1959.

The estuary currently encompasses a total area of 95 acres, which includes wetlands and a few tiny islands. Due to the surface discharge contamination, this estuary has seen fish kills and algae blooms.

8. San Pablo Bay

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California’s San Francisco Bay is extended northward by San Pablo Bay, a harbor and coastal estuary. San Francisco’s eastern and northern bay neighborhoods surround this tidal estuary, which is one of the largest in the state, and the country.

The United States is home to some landmark estuaries like the Chesapeake Bay and the San Francisco Bay Estuary, famed for their size and significance. In fact, most of the estuaries on this list play a significant role both economically and environmentally in their surrounding areas.

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