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Term Estuary

Narrow body of water found in the mouth of coastal rivers, which contains variable levels of salinity due to intrusion and mixture with sea water.

It corresponds to a coastal zone that has high biological productivity, as within it nutrients and dissolved minerals are concentrated from river waters which-- when mixed with sea water-- results in a substrate suitable for the development of plankton, which is the base element of sea food chains. The conditions that arise offer an environment that is excellent for the establishment and development of a particular associated fauna of organisms that adapt to these fluctuations in salinity.

Estuaries serve as a refuge and habitat for species in risk of extinction such as the manatee (Trichechus manatus).

In  the  Dominican  Republic,  most  estuaries are associated with the mangrove ecosystem, which as a whole houses informal commercial fishing, as is the case, for example, in the Yuna and Barracote rivers in the Samaná Bay and in the Soco and Higuamo rivers in the eastern region. Some estuaries, such as the Ozama, Haina, Higuamo and Dolce rivers, are important ports. The most significant hazards to estuaries in the country are felling of coastal vegetation, industrialization, port activities, road construction, tourism infrastructures and the activity of humans who deposit their waste directly into the ecosystem.


Topic  BiodiversityProtected areas