The National Estuary Program (NEP) was established under the 1987 Clean Water Act Amendments. This U.S. Enviornmental Protection Agency (EPA) program focuses on protecting and restoring the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries of national significance, which currently includes 28 estuaries in the United States. Each individual NEP focuses on one of these estuaries and its surrounding watersheds and develops and implements a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP)—a long-term plan that contains specific targeted actions to address water quality, habitat, and living resources challenges.
- Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program - Formerly called the Buzzards Bay Project, this NEP 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 Partnership - This NEP 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.