Abstract: The National Estuary Program protects and restores the health of estuaries while supporting economic and recreational activities. 28 local NEPs are demonstrating practical and innovative ways to revitalize and protect their estuaries.
The National Estuary Program was established in 1987 by amendments to the Clean Water Act to identify, restore, and protect ... nationally significant estuaries of the United States. Unlike traditional regulatory approaches to environmental protection, the NEP targets a broad range of issues and engages local communities in the process. The program focuses not just on improving water quality in an estuary, but on maintaining the integrity of the whole system -- its chemical, physical, and biological properties, as well as its economic, recreational, and aesthetic values.
The National Estuary Program is designed to encourage local communities to take responsibility for managing their own estuaries. Each NEP is made up of representatives from federal, state and local government agencies responsible for managing the estuary's resources, as well as members of the community -- citizens, business leaders, educators, and researchers. These stakeholders work together to identify problems in the estuary, develop specific actions to address those problems, and create and implement a formal management plan to restore and protect the estuary.
Twenty-eight estuary programs are currently working to safeguard the health of some of our Nation's most important coastal waters: Albemarle-Pamlico Sounds, North Carolina; Barataria-Terrebonne Estuarine Complex, Louisiana; Barnegat Bay, New Jersey; Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts; Casco Bay, Maine; Charlotte Harbor, Florida; Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries, Texas; (Lower) Columbia River Estuary, Oregon and Washington; Delaware Estuary, Delaware; Delaware Inland Bays, Delaware; Galveston Bay, Texas; Indian River Lagoon, Florida; Long Island Sound, New York and Connecticut; Maryland Coastal Bays, Maryland; Massachusetts Bay, Massachusetts, Mobile Bay, Alabama; Morro Bay, California; Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island; New Hampshire Estuaries, New Hampshire; New York-New Jersey Harbor; Peconic Bay, New York; Puget Sound, Washington; San Francisco Estuary; San Juan Bay, Puerto Rico; Santa Monica Bay, California; Sarasota Bay, Florida; and Tampa Bay, Florida.
Each program features maps of the program area as well as regional maps.