Cape May residential/marina development
A waterfront development in Cape May County, New Jersey
A portion of Seattle from the air
A "typical" estuary in any urban center
"...and put up a parking lot" 

According to the Restore America’s Estuaries website, "....Over 75% of commercial fish depend on the habitat of estuaries....Chesapeake Bay - 90% of sea grass meadows were destroyed by 1990; in 30 years (1959-89), oyster harvest fell from 32 million pounds to 4 million....Hudson-Raritan Estuary - 75% of original tidal marshes are destroyed in both New York and New Jersey....North Carolina Estuaries - North Carolina lost more wetlands than any other state from 1973 to 1983, and most of the loss continues to be in the coastal plain....” 

While then unfortunate trend to fill in our invaluable estuaries has been slowed down in states like New Jersey through stringent coastal development controls, it hasn't been stopped. The development in Cape May (photo taken in December, 1997) which is shown in the above photo offers "waterfront" living with an adjacent marina where residents can moor their sportsfishing yachts. It is in the process of adding more units. The collective impacts of such developments on the productivity of our estuarine dependent fisheries is only now beginning to attract attention and, while the critical habitat provisions that were added to the Magnuson Act last year offer some hope, for many fisheries it could be a case of too little too late. 

[  Link to an article covering a workshop addressing another area of estuarine degradation]