Our Programs | NERRS

The National Estuarine Research Reserve System

Ashley Combahee Edisto Reserve

The ACE Basin Reserve in South Carolina preserves habitat for many endangered and threatened species and supports important research and education programs.


The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) is a partnership program between NOAA and the coastal states. It encompasses 28 research reserves nationwide that have been established for long-term research, education, and coastal stewardship. NOAA provides funding, national guidance and technical assistance. Each reserve is managed on a day to day basis by a lead state agency or university, with input from local partners.

Reserve staff work with local communities and regional groups to address natural resource management issues, such as impacts of climate change, non-point source pollution, habitat restoration and invasive species. Through integrated research and education, the reserves help communities develop strategies to deal successfully with these coastal resource issues. Reserves provide adult audiences with training on estuarine issues of concern in their local communities. They offer field classes for K-12 students and support teachers through professional development programs in marine education. Reserves also provide long-term weather, water quality and biological monitoring as well as opportunities for scientists and graduate students to conduct research in a “living laboratory.”