NEPs . . .

The National Estuary Program was established in 1987 by Congress to restore and protect estuaries of significant importance.

The NEP’s Mission Involves . . .

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary’s Executive Director Jennifer Adkins gives an overview of their CCMP revision process at a stakeholder listening session in 2016. Photo from Shaun Bailey.

Support for developing and implementing the programs’ Comprehensive Conservation Management Plans (CCMPs).

A breakout group at a January 2017 joint meeting of the Long Island Sound Study Citizen’s Advisory Committee and Science and Technical Advisory Committee about communicating, with instruction from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science out of Stony Brook University. Photo from Judy Preston.

Support for sharing practical ideas about how the NEP consensus-based approach helps to solve ecosystem problems with other resource managers. This information can be used to ensure the long-term environmental and economic viability of coastal and estuarine resources.

Students measuring clam abundance in the Bronx River, just one of a dozen activities during a river – long Field Day cosponsored by the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program, Bronx River Alliance, Columbia University and other partners. Photo Credit Gabriela Munoz, NYNJ HEP.

Support for ongoing stewardship of national estuaries and the ongoing education of diverse stakeholders and decision-makers about issues that impact on estuarine ecosystems.

The Tampa Bay Estuary Program Management Conference celebrating meeting the Tampa Bay seagrass recovery goal in 2015.

Support for the formation and strengthening of the federal/state/local and public/private partnerships in decision-making leading to sound public policy.

Narragansett Bay Commission researchers sample water quality in Narragansett Bay (Photo- Ayla Fox for the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program)

Consistency in collecting and organizing reliable and objective data that’s useful for resource managers and policy decision makers. A related outcome is raising awareness about the need for ongoing monitoring and ecological assessments as part of comprehensive resource management planning.

Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program’s Executive Director Pam DiBona described how citizen-generated data are and can be used at a summit to launch the Massachusetts Coastal Citizen Monitoring Coordinators’ Network ( (photo courtesy of MassBays)

Coordinating information exchange among the NEPs in order to share successful strategies to address common ecological and management issues.

The NEP: A Model Federal Program

Located within 28 different watersheds nationwide, the NEP is recognized as a model for building partnerships to protect the coastal environment, sustain coastal economies, and improve quality of life along more than 42 percent of the continental U.S. shoreline.

The NEP is a time-tested, non-regulatory program that uses a consensus-building process to identify goals, objectives, and actions that reflect local environmental and economic priorities. These partnerships are guided by citizen and intergovernmental management committees attuned to local needs and priorities. The ongoing effort ensures that decisions are based on the best available science.

The collaboration between local, state and federal government, private business, and local communities fostered by each of the NEP’s exemplify efficient and effective governance.  For every one dollar provided by the federal government, $19 is contributed by NEP’s non-federal partners.  The extraordinary leveraging power created through NEP partnerships ensures that the benefits provided by federal investments in clean water, healthy ecosystems, and thriving waterfront communities are multiplied many times over.