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National Estuary Program (NEP)

How the National Estuary Programs Address Environmental Issues

Because we love and depend on coastal water resources, over half the U.S. population lives within 100 miles of a coast, including the shores of estuaries. And more and more people are moving to these areas. Due to the rapid population growth in coastal areas, and climate change, estuaries face a host of common challenges.

In general, these problems cause declines in water quality, living resources and overall estuarine ecosystem health. They also have significant economic and socio-economic impacts. For example, habitat and water quality degradation, along with the introduction of aquatic nuisance species, stresses native fish species populations, which can in turn adversely affect commercial seafood production.

The 28 National Estuary Programs (NEP) share information about their successful approaches to environmental challenges with each other and other coastal watershed managers. That exchange is critical to the effective restoration and protection of estuarine health across all the NEPs.

Provided below are descriptions of the common environmental challenges NEPs face and selected NEP approaches and success stories.

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