Of the 32 largest cities in the world today, 22 are located on estuaries, although the name of the water body could be bay, sound, inlet, harbor, and lagoon.


Manatee and Calf by Tim Ebaugh - Indian River Lagoon Repopulating Oyster Beds - Tampa Bay Estuary Program

Association of National Estuary Programs

About ANEP

Sarasota Bay Estuary Program

Who We Are

The Association of National Estuary Programs (ANEP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the preservation and restoration of our nation's vital estuaries. ANEP works with the 28 individual programs in the National Estuary Program (NEP), which was established in 1987 by Congress to restore and protect estuaries of significant importance. The NEP brings together citizens, scientists, businesses and government to solve environmental problems and promote healthy, vibrant communities. The stakeholders of each program work together to identify important coastal resources and develop science-based action plans to ensure the estuary's long-term ecosystem and economic health.



ANEP supports the local National Estuary Programs and serves as a unified voice for issues concerning them and vital estuary resources. Components of the ongoing support include the following:

  • Support for developing and implementing the programs' Comprehensive Conservation Management Plans (CCMPs).
  • Support for ongoing stewardship of national estuaries and the ongoing education of diverse stakeholders and decision-makers about issues that impact on estuarine ecosystems.
  • Support for sharing practical ideas about how the NEP consensus-based approach helps to solve ecosystem problems with other resource managers. This information can be used to ensure the long-term environmental and economic viability of coastal and estuarine resources.
  • Support for the formation and strengthening of the federal/state/local and public/private partnerships in decision-making leading to sound public policy.
  • Coordinating information exchange among the NEPs in order to share successful strategies to address common ecological and management issues.
  • Consistency in collecting and organizing reliable and objective data that's useful for resource managers and policy decision makers. A related outcome is raising awareness about the need for ongoing monitoring and ecological assessments as part of comprehensive resource management planning.