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The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Will the next Reserve hold a freshwater estuary?

Posted by | July 7, 2008

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has nominated the St. Louis River in the northwest part of his state to become the 28th National Estuarine Research Reserve. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will determine whether to add the site to the Reserve system.

The Governor's press release is here. The NERR System announcement is here moved.

According to the latter reference...

If NOAA approves the designation, the 15,000-acre St. Louis River site will become the second reserve in the Great Lakes. Ohio's Old Woman Creek, on Lake Erie, was designated in 1980. The St. Louis River flowing between the cities of Superior, Wisconsin, and Duluth, Minnesota, is one of the largest freshwater estuaries on Lake Superior.

In simple terms, estuaries are "where rivers meet the sea." In Wells, that sea is the Gulf of Maine, but the Wisconsin sea would be a large freshwater lake. We are used to thinking of estuaries as the places where fresh water and salt water mix. The idea of a "freshwater estuary" is not new, but it is controversial.

To learn about seiches and wind tides and how they contribute to the definition of a freshwater estuary, we recommend this University of Wisconsin Extension page. Follow the link for Freshwater Estuaries Defined.

Does the term freshwater estuary catch you by surprise?

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