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Water: Estuaries and Coastal Watersheds

Chapter 1 - Community-Based Watershed Management Handbook

Chapter 1: The National Estuary Program

Modeled after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay programs, the National Estuary Program (NEP) was designed to restore and maintain the integrity of estuaries and their watersheds. As called for in Section 320 of the Clean Water Act, the NEPs conduct long-term planning and management to address the complex factors that contribute to the deterioration of estuaries, such as increasing development along our coasts. The NEPs involve private and public stakeholders at the watershed level to address specific problems, such as loss of habitat, polluted runoff, and invasive species. The NEPs have successfully implemented effective watershed management plans through their adherence to the following four principles:

  • focus on watersheds,
  • integrate science into the decision-making process,
  • foster collaborative problem solving, and
  • involve the public.

NEPmapsmall
See page 4 of the PDF version of Chapter 1 for an enlarged version of the map.

Assistive Technology: For individuals with disabilities, download Chapter 1: The National Estuary Program (PDF) (7 pp, 323K, About PDF) designed for use with screen reader software applications, About Web Accessibility.

Chapter 1: The National Estuary Program (PDF) (7 pp, 355K, About PDF)

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