An estuary is a partially enclosed body of water where freshwater streams and rivers meet and mix with the saltwater of the ocean. Every estuary is unique, they are areas of transition between the land and the sea.

Delaware Bay is an exceptional estuary of unique resources. This rich estuarine ecosystem is a critical component of the economic well being of the region, supporting industry, fishing, transportation, natural resources, and recreation and is home to millions of people. 

The transition from land to sea, and from fresh to salt water, creates one of the most productive habitats on earth. Delaware Bay is home to the largest population of horse shoe crabs in the world, and is an integral link in the migratory path of numerous species of birds, including shorebirds and waterfowl. The bay provides vital spawning, nursery, and feeding grounds for fish, shellfish, and marine mammals. It is a natural draw for outdoor recreation including kayaking, fishing, hunting, and bird watching.

The salt marshes around the bay filter pollutants and sediments from the land and acts as a buffer that provides protection from flooding and erosion. Delaware Bay supports a diverse natural environment, as well as a vital industrial base and contributes significantly to the economic, recreational, and cultural resources of the region.

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