Estuaries are important coastal areas, providing many natural resources for humans. A natural resource is any entity or process that contributes positively to humans. Some examples of estuarine resources include fish, shellfish, mollusks, crabs, benthos, seagrass beds, oyster reefs, and many other organisms. Some benefits provided by estuaries and their resources include pollutant filtration, nursery areas, protection from storm events, and much more.
It is important for an estuary’s resources to maintain a good integrity and functionality in order to be considered sustainable resources (Alber 2002). The integrity of an estuarine resource can be evaluated by understanding the species’ composition, biomass, abundance and diversity (Alber 2002). The functionality of estuarine resources includes the primary production, secondary production, and nutrient recycling (Alber 2002). Sustainability is the condition in which estuarine resources continue to carry out life functions and processes. The stability of the estuary relies on the persistence of habitats, valued resources, and ecosystem services.