WHAT IS AN ESTUARY?:
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea.
WHY ARE ESTUARIES IMPORTANT?:
Thousands of species of birds, mammals, fish, and other wildlife depend on estuarine habitats as places to live, feed, and reproduce. And many marine organisms, including most commercially-important species of fish, depend on estuaries at some point during their development.
WHAT ARE SOME WILDLIFE THAT LIVES IN ESTUARIES?:
-Great Blue Heron
-Northern Fur Seal
-Miditerranean Monk Seal
– Harbor Seal
– Hawaiian Monk Seal
– California Sea Lion
– Hooker’s Sea Lion
WHAT IS THE NATIONAL ESTUARY PROGRAM?:
The NEP was established under the 1987 Clean Water Act (CWA) Amendments as a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the estuary, including restoration and maintenance of water quality, a balanced indigenous population of shellfish, fish, and wildlife, and recreational activities in the estuary, and assure that the designated uses of the estuary are protected”. The NEP is comprised of a network of 28 voluntary place-based organizations across the nation that model ecosystem based management. Each NEP has a Management Conference made up of diverse local stakeholders that develop a long-term Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) that identifies water quality and living resource challenges and priorities in their estuarine and coastal watersheds. The Management Conference partners with local, state, other Federal officials and representatives from the non-profit and private sector to collaboratively implement CCMP priorities.
DO NEPs HAVE ENVIRONMENTAL GOALS?:
Each NEP has annual and long-term goals for addressing major environmental issues faced by their estuarine and coastal watersheds. In addition, EPA has an annual and a five-year target for acres of habitat protected and restored by the NEPs and their partners