Nature-based Tourism

National Estuaries Day

September 28, 2013

Established in 1988 as part of Coast Week, National Estuaries Day is an annual celebration of the coastal areas where our rivers meet the sea.

What are estuaries and why do we celebrate them? Estuaries are bodies of water in which the fresh water from rivers and streams mixes with the salt water of the ocean. Along with rain forests and coral reefs, estuaries are among the most productive ecosystems in the world. They provide critical habitat for a variety of marine plants and animals. Because of the many species of fish and wildlife that rely on the sheltered waters of estuaries as protected places for their young, estuaries are often called the “nurseries of the sea.” Commercial and recreational fisheries depend on estuaries — they provide habitat for more than 75% of America’s commercial fish harvest, and for about 80-90% of the recreational fish catch.  Tourism, shipping, recreational boating, fishing, and other commercial activities associated with estuaries support local, regional, and national economies.

Watch the “What’s an Estuary? Now You Know” video produced by the Association of National Estuary Programs. Then test your knowledge of estuaries by taking this quiz!

The 2013 National Estuaries Day will be celebrated on Saturday, September 28th. It is a great opportunity to experience our own Barnegat Bay estuary and learn about this treasured resource and how we can help protect it. There are many exciting events taking place throughout the Barnegat Bay watershed on that day and during the entire month of September.   Go on a boat tour of the bay, try clamming or crabbing, watch birds by kayak, and so much more!

 Ocean County Parks & Recreation

The 29th Ocean County Decoy & Gunning Show
This FREE event will be held on Saturday, September 28th, and Sunday, September 29th, from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Tuckerton Seaport and Tip Seamen Park in Tuckerton, NJ.  The show highlights the working decoy and waterfowling heritage of Barnegat Bay.  There will be demonstrations, contests, seminars, carvers, crafters, vendors, food, music, and entertainment.  As part of the event, FREE boat tours of the bay will be available on a first-come, first-served basis on September 28 at Tuckerton Seaport.   Click here for more details about the Decoy & Gunning Show.

Cattus Island County Park

Coastal Month Nature Walks
September is Coastal Month, and Cattus Island County Park is celebrating with three nature walks on September weekends.  September 7th & 8th: A Farewell to Osprey; September 14th & 15th: Marsh Mysteries; September 21st & 22nd: On the Lookout for Warblers
All hikes are FREE and run from 2 to 3 p.m. See the Fall brochure for more information.

Island beach state park

Sedge Islands “Then and Now” Kayak Tour
Barnegat Bay was once a commercial hub for market gunners, baymen, and salt hay farmers.  Learn about the people who lived here long ago, and how they utilized the natural resources of the bay.  Today, the Sedge Islands is a Marine Conservation Zone.  Explore the plants and animals of this unique ecosystem, guided by expert park naturalists, on a kayak tour on September 1st from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Cost is $25 per person. Call 732-793-0506 to register.

The 16th Annual Beach Plum Festival
Sponsored by Friends of Island Beach State Park, this FREE event will be held at the park on Sunday, September 8th, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  There will be demonstrations, crafters, food, music, games, non-profit displays, a kayak raffle, and of course, beach plum jelly and ice cream.

National Estuaries Day Activities
Celebrate National Estuaries Day by going on a kayak eco-tour of the bay from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on September 28th with park naturalists. Cost is $25 per person, ages 14 and up. For ages 6 to 12, participate in a WildChild Island Explorers program that day from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and learn about the animals of the park.  Cost is $10 per child.  Click here for more information about these activities, and call 732-793-0506 to register.

Reclaim The Bay

Shellfish Nursery Tours
Visit a shellfish nursery where thousands of shellfish are grown and learn about shellfish gardening in Barnegat Bay.  See, touch, and learn from living baby shellfish at the nurseries. There are several locations and times throughout September.  Click here for more information about ReClam the Bay programs.

Tuckerton Seaport

New Jersey Maritime Heritage Festival featuring the Antique & Classic Boat Show
Join the Seaport and the Philadelphia Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society for two days of classic wood and glass boat exhibitors, demonstrations, workshops, vendors, food, and entertainment. This fun event for the whole family takes place on Saturday, September 7th, and Sunday, September 8th, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Contact Tuckerton Seaport for more information.

Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve

Jacques Cousteau Reserve and Tuckerton Seaport’s Lunch n’ Learn Series 2013-2014:  Extreme Weather Events as Seen Through the Eyes of SWMP
September 11, 2013
  12:30 p.m. at the Tuckerton Seaport
A variety of monitoring equipment is set up throughout the Mullica River- Great Bay Estuary.  When extreme weather events occur (such as hurricanes, derechos, tsunamis, etc.), there is often a need for unbiased data to inform the public.  The National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s System Wide Monitoring program, aka SWMP, can provide the information to put such events in perspective and predict similar effects in the future. Discover what local events the SWMP data has “caught.”  Speaker: Rutgers Researcher and SWMP Technician Gregg Sakowicz. Call 609-296-8868 to register.


LEARN MORE about estuaries and ways to celebrate National Estuaries Day — click here.

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