National Estuaries Week
Save the date! National Estuaries Week 2021 is Sept 18-25
National Estuaries Week (NEW) is a nationwide celebration of our bays and estuaries and the many benefits they provide to local communities. Each year, hundreds of organizations throughout the country host local events in celebration of National Estuaries Week, from beach cleanups and marsh restoration events, to kayaking tours. Together, we create awareness around our estuaries through engaging members of our community and elected officials through social media.
The goals of National Estuaries Week include:
- To create broad public awareness and support for our nation’s estuaries and coasts
- To encourage active engagement and participation with local estuaries through volunteer and educational events
- To communicate the value and importance of our estuaries and coasts to key decision makers at the local and federal levels
National Estuaries Week History
National Estuaries Week, which first began as National Estuaries Day, was founded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1988 as part of Coastweeks. While Coastweeks was a broad celebration of our nation’s coasts, National Estuaries Day was created to specifically focus on estuaries, with a mission to encourage citizens to explore and appreciate their local estuaries. For many years in the 1990s, NOAA and EPA hosted National Estuaries Day events both locally and nationally. But when federal support declined, the event disappeared for some time with no national effort to hold it together.
Around 2007, Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) saw the opportunity to revive National Estuaries Day. RAE partnered with organizations like the Association of National Estuary Programs (ANEP), the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association (NERRA), and NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management (NOAA OCM), to grow National Estuaries Day, soon overtaking its original reach. It became clear that one day was not enough time to host celebratory events, and many organizations expressed disappointment over not be able to participate. National Estuaries Day became National Estuaries Week in 2013 to provide more opportunities for activities and celebration. Celebrated every third week in September, National Estuaries Week continues to be a unique opportunity to come together and raise awareness for our estuaries and coasts.
National Estuaries Week 2020
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 National Estuaries Week was a bit different than years prior. Although we couldn't gather in large groups, socially distanced paddles, on-demand film festivals, and DIY beach clean-ups still took place from September 19-26th. Despite these less than ideal circumstances, more than 9,000 volunteers participated in over 27 registered events from coast to coast.