The Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays) was named an “estuary of national significance” in 1990, shortly after Congress established the non-regulatory National Estuary Program (NEP) under Section 320 of the Clean Water Act in 1987 (reauthorized in 2016). MassBays is one of 28 NEPs across the U.S., and one of two in Massachusetts. Our planning area extends from Salisbury on the New Hampshire border to Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod, encompassing Ipswich Bay, Massachusetts Bay, and Cape Cod Bay.
MassBays’ vision is a network of healthy and resilient estuaries, sustainable ecosystems that support the life and communities dependent upon them. Our mission is to protect, restore, and enhance the estuarine ecosystems of Ipswich Bay, Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay. We do this by facilitating partnerships to prompt local, state, and federal action and stewardship, convening stakeholders on the local and regional level, providing scientific basis for management decisions, and working with decisionmakers to identify problems and solutions.