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Water: Estuaries and Coastal Watersheds

NEP Financing Strategies

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On average, the National Estuary Programs (NEPs) raise $18 for every $1 provided by EPA. The NEPs successfully leverage federal seed money by:

  • Developing finance plans
  • Building strategic alliances
  • Demonstrating environmental results
  • Providing seed money or staff to initiate and develop new funding sources such as stormwater utilities.

Figure 1 NEP Primary Leveraged Dollars 2003 to 2013

Over the 2003-2013 period the NEPs leveraged $4.2 billion from $230 million in EPA grants. This additional funding came from a variety of federal, state, local and private sources through such mechanisms as annual membership appeals, license plate revenues, fines and penalties, State appropriations and intergovernmental agreements. There are many sustainable funding examples from the NEPs.

Figure 2 Primary Leveraging Investments 2005 to 2013

The  NEPs use leveraged resources to protect and restore important habitat, support critical land acquisitions, upgrade wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, conduct outreach and education, and implement other priority actions contained in their Comprehensive Conservation Management Plans.

Note: Leveraged dollars are defined as the dollar value (cash or in-kind equivalent) of resources dedicated to implementing an NEP CCMP above and beyond the funding provided to the NEP under Section 320, including earmark funding. "Primary” leveraging indicates that the NEP Director and staff, rather than NEP partners, played the central or leadership role in obtaining the additional resources.


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