National Estuaries Week Events Seek to Inspire Environmental Action
Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program is hosting a series of community events on each day of National Estuaries Week, from Saturday to Sept. 26.
These events include a coastal litter cleanup on Saturday; kayak paddles through estuaries on Sunday and Wednesday; and educational conferences on Monday and Thursday. Events celebrating the estuaries and the abundance they bring to the community include the Pensacola Seafood Festival from Sept. 24-26 and an Oyster Sunset Cruise on the evening of Sept. 26.
Estuaries are partially enclosed bodies of water where saltwater and fresh mix.
A news release announcing National Estuaries Week also included the Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program Community Grant Symposium on Thursday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. which will serve to highlight the work being done through the Estuary Program’s 2020-2021 grant recipients. The symposium will present a documentary about the Escambia River, video surveys of fish communities on oyster reefs, results of microplastics research, a video mini-series about local waters, and more.
Estuaries are critical habitats for coastal wildlife and are considered one of the most resource productive ecosystems in the world, the news release said. These waterways are essential to the lifecycle of 75% of recreationally and commercially caught fish and act as the backbone for the gulf coast fishing industry.
In addition to supporting the local economy, estuaries serve to protect the community through shoreline stabilization, flood control, and water filtration. As climate change worsens the frequency and severity of tropical systems in the Gulf of Mexico, the protection of estuaries will be paramount to the conservation of coastal communities, the release states.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “Cyclone intensity has risen noticeably over the past 20 years, and eight of the 10 most active years since 1950 have occurred since the mid-1990s."
The Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program, made possible through a community grant by the EPA, aims to restore and preserve local estuaries while providing education and environmental engagement opportunities to the community.
National Estuary Week 2021 Events:
Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon: International Coastal Cleanup at Perdido Key State Park
Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m.: Pensacola MESS Hall Curiosity Day – Estuaries
Sunday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Indian Bayou Paddle
Monday, 11 a.m.: East Bay Habitat Restoration Virtual Tour
Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Perdido Islands Paddle
Thursday, 5:30 to 8 p.m.: PPBEP Community Grant Symposium
Sept. 24-26: Pensacola Seafood Festival
Sept. 25, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.: National Public Lands Day at Big Lagoon State Park
Sept. 26, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Oyster Sunset Cruise
For a full list of events and event details visit: ppbep.org/get-involved.