Isle of Wight Estuaries Project

With these pages and links you can find out more about the Isle of Wight’s fascinating estuaries, wildlife and the organisations involved in their management.


Estuaries extend from a river’s upper tidal limit to the sea and form a constantly changing environment where freshwater and marine systems interact. They are complicated, highly productive ecosystems and form some of the most sensitive and highly valued natural resources in the world. Often the location of early settlements, estuaries have a rich history and maritime heritage. They are also great places to have fun and are a popular and important part of a vibrant coastal economy.

Estuary and coastal management

Estuary and coastal management aims to make sure that there is a good balance between the quality of the natural and historic environment and its use for all of our activities. Sometimes this balance can only be achieved by adapting our activities so that they have less impact on the environment and other people and by undertaking proactive work to support natural habitats.

The Isle of Wight Estuaries Project

The Isle of Wight Estuaries Project works towards the integrated and sustainable use of the Island’s estuaries, with particular focus on the Medina and the Western Yar. It is a partnership between Cowes Harbour Commission, the Isle of Wight Council and Yarmouth Harbour Commissioners and is supported by the Environment Agency and Natural England. The partnership aims to find a balance between estuary activities and the needs of the natural environment. It encourages greater understanding of estuarine habitats, wildlife and coastal processes.

For more about the Island's estuaries, rivers and current projects visit the Island Rivers.