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The Taunton River estuary is regionall important for its recreational, scenic, and ecological values. It is a remarkably healthy and intact coastal ecosystem, with tidal influence extending through Dighton and into Taunton, 18 miles from Mount Hope Bay. The extensive estuary resources of the Taunton River system make it significant as nursery habitat for juvenile fish and shellfish, and as habitat for anadromous fish (fish that spend their adult life in the ocean and migrate into rivers to spawn). The Taunton River is part of the larger Narragansett Bay watershed and it contrivutes a significant portion of the bay's fresh water. Narragansett Bay is a nationall significant resouce, designated under the EPA's National Estuary Programs as well as the National Estuarine Research Reserve Program.