The National Estuary Program was established under the 1987 Clean Water Act (CWA) Amendments as an EPA place-based program to protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries of national significance. Each National Estuary Program (NEP) is required to develop and implement a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP)—a long-term plan that contains specific targeted actions designed to address water quality, habitat, and living resources challenges in its estuarine watershed.
CZM administers two NEPs, which are funded by Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
- Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program - Formerly called the Buzzards Bay Project, this program provides funding and technical assistance to municipalities and environmental groups to protect and restore water quality and living resources in Buzzards Bay and its watershed.
- Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program - This program facilitates partnerships to protect, restore, and enhance the estuarine resources of Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay with central program staff and regional coordinators who serve the 50 communities in the region.