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Release Date: 10/2/1998
Contact Information: Bonnie Lomax (215) 814-5542 October 2, 1998

PHILADELPHIA - The mid-Atlantic Office of the Environmental Protection Agency urges the public to appreciate our national estuaries this weekend.  EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have jointly designated October 3 as National Estuaries Day, with the theme "Estuaries -- Gateways to the Ocean."

EPA, the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and the Center for the Inland Bays, and the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program & Graduate College of Marine Studies will celebrate the Delaware Coast on Sunday, October 4, 1998.  The event takes place at the College of Marine Studies in Lewes from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Activities include lectures, ship tours, marsh walks and children’s activities.  For more information contact Dr. Ken Price at the College of  Marine Studies at (302) 645-4256; Dr. Bruce Richards at the Center for Inland Bays (302) 645-7325; or Bud Watson at the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary at (302) 793-1701.  

Estuaries are transitional coastal areas where freshwater from upland streams and rivers mixes with the sea water from the ocean.  They are among the most productive ecosystems in the world.  More than 110 million  Americans live in coastal areas and an estimated 180 million tourists travel to  these communities each year.  These environmentally critical areas serve as nursery grounds for two-thirds of the nation’s fish and shellfish; provide habitat, resting and feeding sites for thousands of birds and other wildlife; buffer against storms; and filter pollutants.

Under its National Estuary Program, EPA is working with state and local government, environmental and business groups, and citizens to protect and restore living resources and improve water quality of 28 nationally significant estuaries around the country.  For more information on National Estuaries Day, the National Estuary Program and on estuaries in general, call EPA’s Coastal Management Branch at 202-260-6502 or visit our web site at