Friday, July 22, 2016

Episode 326 (7-25-16): Estuary Rap and Rhyme

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:16)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, images, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 7-22-16.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 25, 2016

MUSIC - ~ 3 sec

This week, we revisit a July 2012 episode that features some rap and some rhyme about a particular kind of aquatic ecosystem that’s vital to coastal areas worldwide. Have a listen for about 75 seconds.

MUSIC/VOICES - ~ 73 sec

You’ve been listening to excerpts from two estuary education videos from the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. As you heard, an estuary is formed when freshwater rivers mix with saltier coastal water. Many estuaries are formed from a coastal plain river meeting the sea. But estuaries can form in other ways, too, such as within barrier islands like Virginia and North Carolina’s Outer Banks; by earthquake activity, which created the San Francisco Bay estuary; and from glaciers, which form a type of estuary called a fjord. While estuaries are usually thought of as brackish—that is, having freshwater mixed with salt water—some estuaries are completely freshwater, such as those on the Great Lakes where river water and lake water are mixed by winds.

However and wherever they form, estuaries typically result in biologically productive ecosystems, including important reproduction areas for fish and shellfish. Virginia borders a famous example: the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States. Other estuaries in Virginia include the lower, tidally influenced sections of the Potomac, York, and other large river tributaries to the Chesapeake, as well as Back Bay in Virginia Beach, the northernmost part of North Carolina’s Albemarle-Pamlico estuary. Beyond our Commonwealth, many of the world’s largest cities grew up around estuaries, including New York City and Tokyo. So for many millions of humans and countless other organisms, estuaries are among our most valuable and vital habitats.


For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at, or call us at (540) 231-5463. Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show. In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


This week’s music and voices were excerpted from online videos “Estuary Rap” (4 minutes/44 seconds; 2002) and “So What is an Estuary—So Now You Know,” (7 minutes/2 seconds; 2003), provided for educational uses by the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA). These videos were accessed on the System’s “Estuary Education” Web site, The site includes which includes a gallery of dozens of videos and many other resources for learning and teaching about estuaries.

This episode is a revision of Episode 120 (7-23-12), which has been archived.


Chesapeake Bay Virginia National Estuarine Research Reserve, Taskinas Creek area in York River watersed. Photo undated; taken by April Bahen, made available for public use by the NOAA Photo Library (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/U.S. Department of Commerce; photo nerr0184), accessed online at, 7/22/16.

North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve near Georgetown, South Carolina. Photo taken October 28, 2010, made available for public use by the NOAA Photo Library (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/U.S. Department of Commerce; photo nerr0315), accessed online at, 7/22/16.


The locations of the 28 units of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System are shown on the following map, provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), online at

The reserves are the following:

ACE Basin (SC); Apalachicola (FL); Chesapeake Bay (MD); Chesapeake Bay (VA); Delaware (DE); Elkhorn Slough (CA); Grand Bay (MS); Great Bay (NH); Guana Tolomato Matanzas (FL); Hudson River (NY); Jacques Cousteau (NJ); Jobos Bay (PR); Kachemak Bay (AK); Lake Superior (WI); Mission-Aransas (TX); Narragansett Bay (RI); North Carolina (NC); North Inlet-Winyah (SC); Old Woman Creek (OH); Padilla Bay (WA); Rookery Bay (FL); San Francisco (CA); Sapelo Island (GA); South Slough (OR); Tijuana Estuary (CA); Waquoit Bay (MA); Weeks Bay (AL); Wells (ME).

(Source: National Estuarine Research Reserve Association, online at


Used in Audio

National Estuarine Research Reserve Association, online at

National Geographic Society, “Estuary,” online at

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Estuarine Research Reserve System, “What is an Estuary,” online at

NOAA/National Ocean Service, “Estuaries,” online at

University of Rhode Island Office of Marine Programs, “Estuarine Science,” online at

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge/Virginia,” online at; and “Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan (September 2010),” available online at

Virginia Institute of Marine Science, “Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve,” online at; and “Virginia Estuarine and Coastal Observing System,” online at

For More Information about Estuaries

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), “USGS Water Science School/Why are Wetlands and Aquatic Habitats Important,” online at This site is part of the USGS’ “Water Science School,” online at

USGS/“Chesapeake Bay River Input Monitoring Program,” online at This site is part of the USGS’ Virginia Science Center, online at


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above ( See particularly the “River, Streams, and Other Surface Water” subject category.

Other episodes focusing on aspects of the Chesapeake Bay include the following:
Oysters, Nitrogen, and the Chesapeake Bay, Parts I and II - Episode 279, 8/24/15 and Episode 280, 9/7/15.
Checking on the Chesapeake with the Bay Barometer and Other Tools - Episode 305, 2/29/16.
A Student Shout-out for Chesapeake Bay Submerged Aquatic Vegetation - Episode 325, 7/18/16.


This episode may help with the following Virginia’s 2010 Science Standards of Learning (SOLs):

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 - Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
3.6 - ecosystems, communities, populations, shared resources.
4.5 - ecosystem interactions and human influences on ecosystems.
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; and water monitoring.

Life Science Course
LS.9 - adaptations for particular ecosystems’ biotic and abiotic factors, including characteristics of land, marine, and freshwater environments.
LS. 10 - changes over time in ecosystems, communities, and populations, and factors affecting those changes.
LS.11 - relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
ES.8 - influences by geologic processes and the activities of humans on freshwater resources, including identification of groundwater and major watershed systems in Virginia.
ES.10 – ocean processes, interactions, and policies affecting coastal zones, including Chesapeake Bay.

Biology Course
BIO.8 - dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including nutrient cycling, succession, effects of natural events and human activities, and analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2008 Social Studies SOLs:

Virginia Studies Course
VS.2 – physical geography of Virginia past and present.

United States History to 1865 Course
USI.2 – water features important to the early history of the United States.

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.
WG.6 - past and present trends in human migration and cultural interaction as influenced by social, economic, political, and environmental factors.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at