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EPA Awards Grant to Albemarle - Pamlico National Estuary Partnership: Protecting Natural Resources and Strengthening Local Economies

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WASHINGTON –The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership (APNEP) will receive approximately $343,883 in the form of a federal grant appropriated by Congress to identify, conserve, and protect the significant resources within its 30,000 square mile region of North Carolina and Virginia.

“Having a healthy Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system is vital to the environmental and economic health of America,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Productive fisheries are the foundation of many coastal communities and they need to be protected, and the National Estuary Program is a place-based program that is helping to protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries of national significance.”

Established in 1987, the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership is a community-based watershed program that focuses on improving water quality in estuaries while maintaining the integrity of the whole ecosystem. To accomplish this, APNEP employs an ecosystem-based management approach which includes consideration of human and natural systems, an adaptive management framework, and meaningful engagement with the region’s citizens to find environmental management and policy solutions.

“Our district, and the commonwealth at large, has an abundance of natural resources that are vitally important to the environmental and economic wellbeing of local communities. The National Estuary Program ensures that these ecosystems are preserved and maintained, while protecting the local economies they support,” said U.S. Representative Scott Taylor (VA-2).

Downloadable B-Roll: of Bernice Smith, PhD., EPA Coastal Management Branch Chief.

“This grant will be used to engage citizens in stewardship of the significant resources of the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system,” Bernice Smith, PhD., EPA Coastal Management Branch Chief said. “Estuaries are national treasures, benefiting the health and vitality of coastal communities and economies while providing habitat for fish, birds, mammals and plants.”

Much of the work is achieved through collaborative partnerships and leveraged resources with others interested in environmental and natural resource management. Recently, APNEP completed an economic study of oyster restoration activities, demonstrating that investments yield benefits for coastal habitat programs that extend across state boundaries. The APNEP works in North Carolina and Virginia, as water from both states ultimately drain into the system’s sounds.

"We look forward to continuing to pursue opportunities for collaboration in the shared waterways between North Carolina and Virginia,” said Dr. Kirk Havens of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and APNEP Policy Board Chair.

As a result of its collaborative systems approach, APNEP leadership anticipates it will be poised to continue to its mission to identify, protect, and restore the significant resources of the system well into the future.

“Estuarine protection begins at the headwaters, in the backyards of those that live upstream of the sounds,” said Dr. Bill Crowell, Director of APNEP. “We look forward to continuing to work with our many partners to protect and restore the significant resources of the region, which are vital to our economy and the long-term sustainability of our communities.”

About the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership (APNEP)

Footage: Credit: APNEP
APNEP will use EPA’s grant funding to continue decades of work with its diverse partners to implement oyster protection and restoration actions identified in the APNEP Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, including oyster and fish passage restoration, restoring fish passages, submerged aquatic vegetation mapping, and water quality protection.

About the National Estuary Program

The National Estuary Program (NEP) is an EPA place-based program to protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries of national significance. Currently, 28 estuaries located along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts and in Puerto Rico are designated as estuaries of national significance. The NEP employs a watershed approach, using extensive public participation, collaborative problem solving and science-based approaches to address watershed challenges.

Learn more about the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership, visit:

To learn more about the National Estuary Program, visit: