National Estuary Program (NEP)

Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries

With the advent of the National Estuary Program (NEP), Congress gave recognition to the fact that nonpoint sources of pollution and the cumulative impacts associated with development must be managed if we are to enjoy the benefits that result from maintaining high coastal water quality. It was recognized that those residents whose livelihood and leisure are dependent on the health of coastal waters represent our best hope as stewards of these resources. Congress thus established the NEP as a stakeholder participation process. A principal mission of the NEP is to involve local residents at all stages in the development and implementation of a regional plan to protect, restore, or enhance the quality of water, sediments, and living resources.

Because of the increasing values, development pressures, and environmental impacts to the Coastal Bend Bays and the need to maintain a healthy economy, area citizens initiated a drive in early 1992 to nominate the bay system for inclusion in the NEP (Texas Water Commission, 1992). Subsequently, the bay system was designated “an estuary of national significance,” and the Corpus Christi Bay National Estuary Program (CCBNEP) was established. Over a four year period, the CCBNEP used a communitybased, consensus-building approach to identify the problems facing our bays and estuaries, and to develop this long-term comprehensive conservation and management plan, called the Coastal Bend Bays Plan (Bays Plan).

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