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Water: Estuaries and Coastal Watersheds

National Habitat Goals & Annual Results

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National Estuary Program Habitat Goals

photo of a river

Like the individual NEPs, the EPA has established goals with respect to habitat in its Strategic Plan (GPRA).

EPA's current Strategic Plan defines key goals for the Agency over the next five years (2011-2015). Under these goals, there are specific sub objectives and strategic targets that define, in measurable terms, the environmental change to be accomplished by 2015. The strategic target that addresses the NEPs states that:

"By 2015, protect or restore an additional 600,000 acres of habitat within the study areas for the 28 estuaries that are part of the National Estuary Program."

NEPs report annually to EPA the number of habitat acres they have protected and/or restored. These reports include Habitat Categories and type of Protection/Restoration Activity. This information from 2009-present is accessible on NEPmap and for previous years in Local NEP Projects & Regional Summary. It helps EPA determine if individual NEP strategic targets are being accomplished.

Continue to the "National Habitat Goals & Annual Results" page to learn more about National Estuary Program progress toward its strategic target of protecting/restoring habitats.

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Progress Through Partnerships

NEPs have made substantial progress in protecting and restoring habitats in their estuaries. The habitat efforts carried out by the NEPs and their partners have yielded measurable environmental results. Not only do these projects improve coastal habitats directly, but the water quality in these estuaries, their wetlands, and rivers and streams, thereby benefiting birds, shellfish, and other species living there.

The habitat protection efforts reported here, while coordinated and reported by the NEP, were accomplished through the efforts of the many individual state, local, and federal partners that comprise each estuary program. These stakeholders have committed significant time and resources to support habitat-related Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) actions that serve as the basis of the acreage numbers reported. It is through these strong partnerships and collective efforts that the NEPs are able to address not only habitat loss and alteration, but the broad range of problems facing local coastal communities and our estuaries.

Annual NEP Habitat Totals

National Estuary Programs restored and protected over 1.75 million acres since 2000. Annual acreage numbers vary due to many factors such as funds available, weather conditions, negotiations with land owners, length of time to get a permit, and availability of plant materials.


Total Year 2009 Habitat Efforts


Total acres restored by the NEPs in 2009 equaled 125,409.59 acres

Total Acreage: 125,409.59



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