National Estuary Program

National Estuary ProgramNational Estuary Program

In 1987, Congress established the National Estuary Program (NEP) to protect estuaries threatened by the degradation caused by human activity. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers the program, provides financial and technical support to NEPs.

NEPs are collaborative, community-based entities that address issues facing the estuaries with specific environmental protection actions. Each NEP develops and implements a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) for the designated study area. CCMPs must carry specific actions that will address priority problems, identify parties to implement the actions, develop a plan to ensure implementation occurs and funding for each action.

Three of the 28 nationally designated estuaries are in Region 10: Puget Sound, Lower Columbia River, and Tillamook Bay.

Puget Sound

Puget Sound was one of the original NEP programs. The first CCMP was approved in 1991. In 2007, due to persistent threats to our valuable ecosystem, Washington State created the Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) to reinvigorate efforts.

In 2008, PSP released an Action Agenda that describes a set of actions and priorities to restore and protect Puget Sound by 2020.

The Action Agenda identifies the following threats:

  • Habitat Alteration and Land Conversion
  • Pollution
  • Surface and Groundwater Supply
  • Invasive Species
  • Artificial Propagation of Species
  • Harvest

Actions identified were organized around five priority strategies:

  • Protect Intact Ecosystem Processes, Structures, and Functions
  • Restore Ecosystem Processes, Structures, and Functions
  • Prevent Water Pollution at its Source
  • Work Together
  • Build an Implementation, Monitoring, and Accountability Management System

Related

RELATED ARTICLES

5/31/2018

Pathogens prevention reduction and control 1-4 (PC-00J32601): Final report

A report from the Washington State Department of Health outlines results from a series of projects funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program in 2011. These projects addressed pathogen pollution in Puget Sound through the management of human and animal waste. Restoring shellfish growing areas, avoiding shellfish closures, and protecting people from disease served as the primary objectives.

5/31/2018

Puget Sound Tribal Capacity Program grant #PA-00J27701 final report

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a Five-year Puget Sound Tribal Capacity Program grant (Grant #PA-00J27701) to the Skokomish Indian Tribe. The tribe received approximately $1 million over a five-year project period (10/1/2010-9/30/2015). The purpose of the Puget Sound Tribal Capacity Program is to assist Puget Sound tribes in participating in the development and implementation of the Puget Sound Action Agenda.

Report cover
5/30/2018

Puget Sound National Estuary Program: Tribal Implementation Award PA-00J32201: FY10-13

A report from the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission describes the results of a series of 97 tribal projects related to Puget Sound recovery funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Anna Smith Park, Bremerton WA – May 2017
7/12/2017

Kitsap Regional Shoreline Restoration Program final report

The Kitsap Regional Shoreline Restoration Program is an effort to protect and restore the Puget Sound nearshore by supporting willing landowners who wish to remove bulkheads on their shorelines. The Kitsap Regional Shoreline Restoration Program was funded by Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Puget Sound Watershed Assistance Program, Grant #PO-00J08501-0.

Image courtesy of Nisqually Indian Tribe
3/1/2017

Final report for Nisqually Indian Tribe EPA capacity project

This report describes how funding from the Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program provided fiscal support to allow the Nisqually Indian Tribe to participate in all aspects of the Puget Sound Management Conference. Activities included participation on the region's Ecosystem Coordination Board, The Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council, a local South Sound LIO (AHSS), Treaty Rights at Risk efforts and various committees and meetings to support the outcomes of the Puget Sound Action Agenda.

report cover: Synthesis of 2011-2014 results and key recommendations for future recovery efforts: Final analysis report
12/6/2016

Puget Sound marine and nearshore grant program results, final analysis report

A September 2016 report from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute provides an overview of key products, results, and recommendations presented in three previous reports reviewing 50 projects from the first four years of the Puget Sound Marine and Nearshore Grant Program.

report cover: Analysis of strategic capital investments for habitat restoration and protection
11/16/2016

A review of Puget Sound marine and nearshore grant program results, Part 3

A September 2016 report from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute summarizes and reviews 27 EPA-funded projects focusing on Puget Sound's marine and nearshore environments. The projects were conducted between 2011-2015 with support from the EPA's National Estuary Program.  The report is an analysis of findings on shoreline restoration and derelict net and fishing gear removal. 

report cover: Analysis of invasive species, toxics, oil spill, and integrated risk assessment findings
8/1/2016

A review of Puget Sound marine and nearshore grant program results, Part 2

A July 2016 report from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute summarizes and reviews 10 EPA-funded projects focusing on Puget Sound's marine and nearshore environments. The projects were conducted between 2011-2015 with support from the EPA's National Estuary Program.  The report is an analysis of findings on invasive species, toxics, oil spill, and integrated risk assessment.

6/11/2016

Protecting Puget Sound watersheds from agricultural pollution using a progressive manure application risk management (ARM) system

Throughout the Puget Sound region, impacted and poorly managed agriculture has been repeatedly advanced as a leading contributor to surface and ground water pollution, particularly during the winter months. A study conducted from 2010 - 2015 aimed to develop an Application Risk Management (ARM) System to minimize pollution from manure in Whatcom County. 

6/5/2016

Snohomish Basin Protection Plan

A 2015 report from Snohomish County, King County and the Tulalip Tribes outlines protection strategies for salmon and salmon habitat within the Snohomish Basin. 

report cover: Analysis of  Effective Regulation and Stewardship Findings
12/17/2015

A review of Puget Sound marine and nearshore grant program results, Part 1

A 2015 report from the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute summarizes and reviews 14 EPA-funded projects focusing on Puget Sound's marine and nearshore environments. The projects were conducted between 2011-2015 with support from the EPA's National Estuary Program.

Woodard Creek Basin water resource protection study report cover
11/9/2015

Guiding growth-healthy watersheds: Woodard Creek Basin water resource protection study

An EPA-funded study by the Thurston Regional Planning Council identified recommended strategies and actions to protect and improve water quality and aquatic resources in the Woodard Creek  Basin. 

McLane Creek Basin water resource protection study report cover
11/9/2015

Guiding growth-healthy watersheds: McLane Creek Basin water resource protection study

An EPA-funded study by the Thurston Regional Planning Council identified recommended strategies and actions to protect and improve water quality and aquatic resources in the McLane Creek  Basin. 

Black Lake Basin water resource protection study report cover
11/5/2015

Guiding growth-healthy watersheds: Black Lake Basin water resource protection study

An EPA-funded study by the Thurston Regional Planning Council identified recommended strategies and actions to protect and improve water quality and aquatic resources in the Black Lake Basin. 

Appendix 5. Map of Skykomish/Tye River Control Locations 2014
8/21/2015

Protection and enhancement of riparian buffers in WRIA 7 through restoration and stewardship

The final report on a knotweed removal and native plant project from grant PO-00J08401 to King County DNR for the grant entitled: Protection and enhancement of the riparian buffers in WRIA 7 through restoration and stewardship.

Report cover photo.
1/7/2015

Shellfish restoration and protection in Kitsap Public Health District

A 2014 report by the Kitsap Public Heath District describes the goals and achievements of the Shellfish Restoration and Protection Project including: increasing harvestable shellfish growing areas, establishing a routine shoreline monitoring program, improving water quality, and increasing education of water quality and shellfish protection.

12/17/2014

Development of a stormwater retrofit plan for Water Resources Inventory Area (WRIA) 9: Comprehensive needs and cost assessment and extrapolation to Puget Sound

A 2014 King County report projects the capital and maintenance costs of the stormwater treatment facilities that would be needed, within WRIA 9 and the Puget Sound region, to fully comply with the Clean Water Act. 

Stillaguamish River (North Fork) valley
12/17/2014

Influence of climate and land cover on river discharge in the North Fork Stillaguamish River

A 2014 report prepared by the Stillaguamish Tribe analyzes potential causes of changes in peak and low flows in the Stillaguamish River basin. 

Blue mussel, Mytilus edulis. Photo: Andreas Trepte (CC BY-SA-2.5) http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/32/Blue_mussel_Mytilus_edulis.jpg
10/30/2014

Pierce County shellfish watersheds project

A report from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department describes the results of a project to address threats to water quality in Pierce County, focusing on shellfish areas most at risk.

report cover photo
10/24/2014

Monitoring and adaptive management of the Nisqually Delta after tidal marsh restoration: Restoring ecosystem function for salmon

This 2009 report by the Nisqually Tribe establishes key measures of restoration development, habitat processes, and Chinook salmon response for the largest delta restoration project in the Pacific Northwest.

Eastsound Constructed Wetland flyer
10/24/2014

Managing growth in island communities

A 2014 San Juan County report addresses sustainable growth planning, pollution prevention, and mitigation actions in the Eastsound and Westcott Bay areas.

Gorst Creek Watershed Characterization, regional context map 2-1
10/23/2014

Comprehensive watershed plan for sustainable development and restoration of the Gorst Creek watershed

A 2014 report explains the development of a comprehensive land use plan that is based on the ecological values and functions of the Gorst Creek Watershed in southeast Kitsap County.

An infographic explains the basic principles of TDR. Image via King County.
1/30/2014

Report: Regional transfer of development rights in Puget Sound

A 2013 report from the Environmental Protection Agency discusses progress on implementing transfer of development rights (TDR) as a strategy for conservation and increased development capacity in Puget Sound.

A "spy hopping" Southern Resident killer whale in the San Juan Islands. Image courtesy of NOAA.
7/30/2013

Report: Potential effects of PBDEs on Puget Sound and Southern Resident Killer Whales

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 and the National Marine Fisheries Service Northwest Region have released a report describing results from a series of technical workgroups about the potential effects of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) on Puget Sound and Southern Resident killer whales.

Photograph of sediment-covered rocks in the lower Elwha River just upstream of the river mouth at the Strait of Juan de Fuca (June 20, 2012, Chris Magirl).
6/12/2013

Suspended-sediment concentrations during dam decommissioning in the Elwha River, Washington

This document was prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service. Download the entire report, or read the Introduction below. Portions of this document were originally published in June 2013 and were updated in February 2014.