MANZANITA — Estuaries are typically defined as the area where a river meets the sea or the site where freshwater and salt water mix. But estuaries and their surrounding wetlands are so much more than this simple definition.
Estuaries are among the most productive ecosystems in the world and are critical for the health and vitality of communities around the world. They act as a sink for nutrient-rich sediments, filter water before it flows into the ocean and act as a buffer protecting communities from coastal storms. Estuaries are home to unique plant and animal communities that have adapted to regular tide cycles and changing flows from the river. Many animals rely on estuaries for food, as places to breed and as migration stopovers.
Locally, the Nehalem estuary spans more than 2,800 acres and encompasses a variety of habitats from freshwater streams, Spruce swamps, tidal sloughs, salt marshes and much more.
During its next Speaker Series event, the Lower Nehalem Watershed Council will welcome Paul Atwood, assistant district wildlife biologist with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, for a presentation exploring some of the common wildlife species that use coastal Oregon estuaries, including Nehalem Bay and the habitats that each species relies on.
The event will be held Thursday, March 9 at the Pine Grove Community House, located at 225 Laneda Ave. in Manzanita. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for refreshments. The presentation will start at 7:20 p.m. following an update from Lower Nehalem Watershed Council at 7 p.m.
Atwood’s presentation is scheduled just two days before the 10th Biennial Nehalem Estuary Cleanup and will highlight why a debris-free estuary is important for salmon, other wildlife and people. On March 11,over 100 volunteers will descend on the Nehalem estuary to remove trash and recyclables from around the bay. The all-day event culminates in an evening celebration with food, live music and socializing.
The Nehalem Estuary Cleanup is organized by community partners Lower Nehalem Community Trust, Lower Nehalem Watershed Council, CARTM, Nehalem Bay State Park, North Coast Land Conservancy and Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, with additional support from local businesses and community members. To learn more about the cleanup or to register as a volunteer, visit www.nehalemtrust.org/events