Protecting & Restoring Long Island's Peconic Bays

The National Estuary Program

Working with diverse partnerships to comprehensively manage for the protection and restoration of estuaries of national significance since 1987.

National Estuary Program Map

The Peconic Estuary is one of 28 recognized “Estuaries of National Significance” identified by the US EPA’s National Estuary Program (NEP).   The NEP was established by Congress in 1987 through Section 320 of the Clean Water Act to restore and protect estuaries of national significance.  The NEP has been reauthorized by Congress several times, most recently in 2016.
The NEP brings together citizens, scientists, businesses, and government to solve environmental problems and promote healthy, vibrant communities. The program stakeholders work together to develop science-based action plans that enhance the estuary as a vital environmental and economic resource benefiting local communities and the entire nation.
  • NEPs are Non-Regulatory and Locally Driven. Each of the 28 NEPs host locally-based, stakeholder-driven programs that are non-regulatory, and empower communities to protect, manage, and restore estuaries according to local values and needs.
  • NEPs Promote Efficient Public-Private Partnerships. Focused on habitat protection and restoration and water quality enhancement projects, the NEPs have generated nearly $4 billion for on-the-ground efforts since 2003.  For each federal dollar invested, NEPs leverage $19 in other local investment.
  • NEPs Support EPA’s Clean Water Act. NEPs implement other core water programs, including nonpoint source pollution, TMDLs, and water quality monitoring and standards.  Many NEPs have documented localized reductions in nutrients and pathogens in their watersheds.
  • NEPs Are Results-Oriented and Successful. With a track record spanning more than two decades, the NEP offers an effective method of protecting and managing all types of coastal watersheds.  Since 2000, the NEPs have restored and protected more than 2 million acres of vital coastal habitats.

PEP is one of 28 National Estuary Programs located all over the United States. The Association of National Estuary Programs (ANEP) works nationally with the 28 individual programs in the National Estuary Program to promote and improve the effectiveness of NEPs.  ANEP, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, works with NEPs to educate key stakeholders, including elected officials, about the value and importance of clean water and healthy estuaries to coastal communities and their economies.  ANEP works with NEPs to develop a unified voice for national audiences, coordinates technical, education, and policy information exchange among NEPs and their partners, and helps assess and communicate the effectiveness of NEPs at local, regional, and national levels.


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