Though it appears this is a national effort, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System oversees several "components" on both Carolina shores. These are:
- Currituck (which we visited this past winter)
- Masonboro Island - the "largest undisturbed barrier island" in the southern NC coast
- Rachel Carson Estuarine Research Reserve Islands, off Beaufort
- Zeke's Island
The Currituck component is accessible by land. Masonboro (between Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach), Rachel Carson, and Zeke's Island, by private ferry or boat. At these locations, you may find include uninhabited lands, hiking trails, waterfowls, and during nesting season, endangered sea turtles.
- North Inlet-Winyah Bay - near Georgetown
- The ACE Basin near Beaufort and Edisto, which we attempted to visit once.
For more information on NERRS in NC, go to http://nerrs.noaa.gov/