An estuary is a partially enclosed water body that occurs at a shoreline where saltwater from the ocean mixes with freshwater from a river or stream. Estuaries contain brackish water, which has a salinity (salt content) between that of freshwater and saltwater. They are important water bodies because they protect against storm surge from tropical storms and act as nurseries for many marine animals’ young. Mobile Bay, Galveston Bay, and Tampa Bay are examples of Gulf Coast estuaries.
Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
(Source: US EPA. National Estuary Program. http://www.epa.gov/nep/about1.htm.)