Stakeholder interests are benefits an estuarine system provides for humans. They are the values that make estuarine systems worth maintaining and capable of being a sustainable environment. Choosing resources to conserve is necessary because it may define the estuarine study area, the public’s interests and what they are willing to protect, collection of data, as well as policies that can be passed based on applicable Acts.
Some estuarine resources are valued more highly than others depending on the system dynamics and stakeholder’s interests. Identifying estuarine resources that are important to an area is necessary because there are almost always budget constraints placed on management projects. Also, approval of most proposed policies hinders on the interests of community members and their willingness to make concessions.
Some definitions of valued resources are interchangeable with that of ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are those resources and processes environments provide for anthropogenic use free of charge. The economic value of estuarine U.S. ecosystem services is valued in the trillions of dollars.