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Current NEPs A Nominated NEPs Note: The National Estuary Program develops Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plans (CCMPs) to restore threatened estuaries; data are current as of October 22, 1992.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, 1992.

Such an approach requires the collaboration of public and private groups to balance multiple values.

For example, the EPA National Estuary Program is a partnership established by section 320 of the Clean Water Act that identifies nationally significant estuaries threatened by pollution, development, or overuse. Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plans (CCMPs) identify management options designed to restore targeted estuaries. Federal, state, regional, and local authorities as well as affected industries, academic institutions, and citizens take part in developing CCMPs. The program currently has 21 estuaries with plans under development, 4 of which were added in 1992. Following approval in 1991 of the first CCMP, which covered Puget Sound,

Washington, EPA approved a CCMP for Buzzard's Bay, Massachusetts, in 1992.

Other EPA geographic initiatives, such as the Chesapeake Bay Program, Great Lakes Program, and Gulf of Mexico Program target coastal resources. The Near Coastal Waters Program helps EPA identify priority coastal areas and integrate protective efforts by addressing gaps in coastal management.

Coastal Protection

NOAA and various Department of the Interior agencies manage programs to protect coastal resources.

National Marine Sanctuaries. The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 provides for the protective management of unique marine recreational, ecological, histori

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1.0 A circular area over the

wreck of the U.S.S. Monitor. 100.0 Coral reef. 1,252.0 Offshore, nearshore, and

intertidal habitats.
17.0 Submerged live-bottom

reef. 948.0 Diverse habitat for marine

mammals and seabirds.
5.3 Florida reef tract.
0.2 Terraced coral reef

ecosystem typical of

South Pacific islands. 397.0 Ocean waters surrounding a

submerged mountain top. 2,800.0 Coral reefs and other

waters. 4,024.0 Marine mammals, seabirds,

and the largest U.S.

submarine canyon. 41.7 Northern-most North

American coral reef

community. 638.0 Whale summering ground,

major fisheries.
500.+ Whales and tropical

coral reef resources;
final boundaries remain
to be designated.

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Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA, National Ocean Service, 1992.

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Designated sites A Developing sites Note: Estuarine reserves are protected areas set aside for research; data are current as of September 1992. Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD, 1992.

acres was added to the system with final designation of the ACE-Basin Reserve (134,710 acres) and the North Inlet/ Winyah Bay Reserve (9,000 acres), in South Carolina.

National Wildlife Refuges. Coastal refuges make up 77 million acres, or 86 percent, of the 91 million acres in the National Wildlife Refuge System administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Coastal Barrier System. The Coastal Barrier Resources Act restricts federal spending and assistance for development in the Coastal Barrier Resources System. The goal is to reduce damage to these valuable and ecologically sensitive barrier islands. The system includes 560 units and 1.27 million acres.


Along with efforts to prevent and control degradation of the coastal environment, a number of federal programs emphasize restoration of damaged and depleted resources. For example, the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act of 1990 (CWPPRA) provides grants to coastal states or territories for acquisition of coastal lands or waters and for restoration, enhancement, or management of coastal wetlands ecosystems. States are required to maintain acquired coastal lands or waters, providing long-term protection of the property itself, its water quality, and its dependent fish and wildlife. FWS coordinates the process through which states and other applicants submit annual proposals for CWPPRA grant

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the U.S. Geological Survey conduct coastal-related research as well.

Coastal Ocean Program. The NOAA Coastal Ocean Program focuses scientific expertise on coastal ocean and Great Lakes issues. The program seeks to improve understanding and predictive capabilities regarding coastal ocean pollution and habitat degradation, fisheries productivity, and protection of life and property in coastal areas.

North Pacific Marine Science Organization. A Convention for the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) entered into force in March 1992. Canada, Japan, and the United States are inaugural members, with China and Russia expected to become members soon. PICES has a broad mandate to promote and coordinate marine and related research, with an emphasis on the ocean's interactions with land and atmosphere; its role in global weather and climate change; flora, fauna, and ecosystems; uses and resources; and the impacts of human activity.

EPA Office of Research and Development. This office devotes its efforts to understanding the cumulative impacts of multiple stresses on marine and estuarine environments. Such efforts enable EPA water programs to move beyond their traditional chemical and effluent focus to address ecological exposure and biological responses. New EPA initiatives on habitat and biodiversity have implications for the marine environment.

Minerals Management Service Environmental Studies. Through an Environmental Studies Program, MMS conducts research on fundamental physical, chemical, and biological processes;

ecosystem function; and abundance and distribution of living marine resources. The agency applies this information to decisions on management of offshore oil, gas, and mineral resources.

Interagency Collaboration. Within the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the federal interagency Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences (CEES) has a Subcommittee on U.S. Coastal Ocean Science (SUSCOS). The subcommittee coordinates the work of several agencies to obtain a predictive understanding of the processes associated with the coastal environment. Members represent the departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, State, and Transportation along with CEQ, EPA, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. The subcommittee provides long-range, coordinated planning for the federal coastal ocean science effort.

Monitoring and Assessment. The NOAA Strategic Assessment Program organizes and synthesizes existing information on U.S. coastal and ocean characteristics. NOAA also is responsible for the Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) Initiative that is developing strategies for monitoring the health of coastal ocean ecosystems around the world.

At the watershed level, the EPA National Estuary Program (NEP) develops guidance for use by individual estuary programs in monitoring the effectiveness of estuary management. The report, Managing Troubled Waters, issued by the National Research Council, guides development of monitoring plans for the 21 NEP estuaries and provides a model for other programs.

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