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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership - Estuary Guessing Game

Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership

 

 

Which of these things belongs in our estuary?
Click on the picture!


 

Answers

Correct! The Albemarle-Pamlico Estuary is a habitat for many species of crabs including horseshoe crabs and blue crabs. Crabs eat the dead plant and animal material that sinks to the bottom of the estuary - crabs love to recycle! Back to the game

OOPS! Boy, that's a tough one. There are many people who call our estuary region home. There are cities and towns in the estuarine regions of our state. People and plants and animals can live together and enjoy the estuary, but we have to plan ahead to make sure enough habitat is left for the animals and plants, that we don't pollute the estuary and that we don't bring invasive plants or animal species into the estuary. Back to the game

OOPS! There are no penguins in the Albemarle-Pamlico Estuary. North Carolina is too warm for penguins. You can see penguins at the NC Zoological Park. Back to the game

Correct! The estuary provides many habitats for fish to live, grow, eat and reproduce. Fishing is a huge part of North Carolina's economy and keeping our estuaries clean is what keeps the fisheries healthy. Back to the game

Correct! The Blue Heron quietly stalks its dinner in the shallow waters of the estuary. You'll see other wading birds like egrets as well. The estuary is home to many shore birds that build their nests in shrubby areas and look for their food along the shoreline. You can even watch pelicans dive into the water to scoop up a fish in their giant beaks. Back to the game

OOPS! Even trash found along the side of the road can make its way into our estuary during rainstorms. People need to always throw their trash in the garbage or better yet, recycle it! Maybe the next time you are exploring the estuary you can help clean it up by picking up any trash you find and disposing of it properly. The turtles and other animals will thank you for it. Back to the game

OOPS! Not Really. Although many people bring their dogs to estuary areas to play, dogs can disturb wildlife and their waste pollutes the water. If you bring your dog with you when you visit estuarine areas, always scoop his poop and keep him on a leash so he doesn't chase the birds and other animals. Back to the game

Correct! Some of the areas in the Albemarle-Pamlico estuary have feral horses living in them. They are referred to as feral rather than wild since they are descendants of domesticated horses. Even though the horses were first introduced by people, they now serve as a rare example of how horses live and behave in the wild. Today, they have to be specially managed and protected so they can continue be one of our treasured coastal residents. What are some reasons you think feral horses need to be managed? Back to the game

OOPS! Although you may see oil floating on top of the water, it shouldn't be there. You can help make sure oil doesn't reach the estuary by reminding adults to fix leaks in their cars and boats so that oil won't get washed into our creeks, streams and estuaries when it rains. Used oil should be recycled and never poured onto the ground or into a stream or ditch. Back to the game

We want people to enjoy our natural resources- responsibly. Boat captains should take training classes on how to safely operate a boat. Boats and jet skis can damage habitats when they go too close to the shore and disturb the bottom or make wakes that can cause erosion. And boats should always use a pump-out station to dispose of their waste- you don't want to swim in waste and neither do the fish! Back to the game

Correct! Coastal marshes are important to the health of our estuaries. They provide habitat, shade, cover, and food – much like a forest. They are so important that our laws provide extra protection for them so people don't dig them up or fill them in. You may think the marsh is just a muddy mucky place, but the animals who call it home like it just the way it is. Back to the game

Correct! Now you see them, now you don't. Red Wolves are secretive animals so if you see one, consider yourself lucky. The Red Wolf, which is often gray colored, is on the endangered species list for North Carolina. The Red Wolf population was next to nothing before it was reintroduced in the wild several years ago. The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is home to some of these native wolves. They are pretty small in size and make their home in swamps, forests and along streams. Back to the game

OOPS! See ya later alligator weed! Don't let its name mislead you, this plant is a pest and it isn't welcome in our estuary. Alligator Weed is an invasive plant which means it can grow where it doesn't belong and use the habitat that our native plants should be living in. It can grow so fast that it can clog up a waterway or completely cover a pond or lake making fish unable to breathe and underwater plants unable to grow. Can you think of ways to prevent invasive plants from spreading? Back to the game

Correct! This is no ugly duckling. The Albemarle-Pamlico Estuary is an important stop along the route of migrating birds like the Tundra Swan. These swans migrate all the way from Alaska, Nevada and Utah. The large open spaces found in eastern North Carolina make a great place for them to stop and rest before they continue their long journey. Did you know that more tundra swans stop in North Carolina than in any other state? Approximately 65,000 to 75,000 swans stop here to take advantage of the food sources found in our lakes, sounds and farm fields. Back to the game

Correct! Hooray for Oysters! These and other shellfish make their home in the shallow shell bottom areas of the estuary. Oysters aren't just seafood. These oyster reefs, as they are sometimes called, filter gallons and gallons of water each day - so if you like clean water- thank an oyster! And the reefs provide habitat for many kinds of fish and other estuarine life. Oysters are in trouble though, and so are we if we don't stop polluting our estuaries. By protecting and restoring oysters and their habitat it may be possible to restore oysters so they can keep up the good work! Back to the game

OOPS! Pipes and ditches carrying storm water sometimes empty right into our estuarine waters. Storm water is rainwater that is collected when it runs off the land, parking lots, roads and roofs and into storm water drains where it is carried to a pipe and away from cities and towns. The water collects pollutants like oil, gas, and other chemicals and trash like cigarette butts and bottles and cans. When pipes and ditches discharge the polluted water right into our estuarine waters they act like a point source - pollution coming from a single starting place. We need to develop and use better ways to deal with storm water without polluting our streams, rivers and sounds. Back to the game

 

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