Estuaries are diverse and dynamic natural systems that are under-studied in the Pacific Northwest. The Treaty Council is currently studying three estuaries located along the coasts of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Hood Canal.
Sea-level rise due climate change generally leads to higher coastal water levels, thereby altering ecosystems through increased inundation of estuarine beaches, tidal flats, and inland and freshwater marshes.
Estuaries are heavily influenced by freshwater, sediment, and nutrient inputs from streams. Concern has grown over the potential impacts climate change might have on freshwater resources and how these changes might impact estuary health.