66.456: National Estuary Program
Alternate Name: NEP
Sept. 16, 2022
Sept. 16, 2022
The National Estuary Program (NEP) goal is to protect and restore the water quality and estuarine resources of estuaries and associated watersheds designated by the EPA Administrator as estuaries of national significance. The 28 estuaries of national significance, or NEPs, use an ecosystem-based management approach to help achieve their protection and restoration goals. For example, each NEP characterizes the priority problems in its estuary and surrounding watershed, develops a long-term plan known as a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) that identifies actions to address those problems, and identifies partners, including lead entities, who will implement those actions. Implementation of CCMPs can include the following actions: protecting and restoring habitat, including wetlands; supporting water quality protection and restoration, including Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan implementation; monitoring for, assessing the extent of toxics loadings and pathogen contamination, and taking steps to address excess loadings and contamination; implementing stormwater management, reducing non-point source pollution impacts, and promoting the adoption of green infrastructure approaches; preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species and/or managing their impacts; developing and implementing nutrient reduction strategies; conducting climate vulnerability assessments and developing and implementing climate change adaptation strategies and using adaptation tools to promote coastal resilience; and developing and implementing strategies to provide opportunities for residents of urban minority and/or under-served communities to have greater access to urban waters, participate in urban ecosystem restoration, and participate in capacity-building/educational activities. In addition to CCMP implementation, NEPs and other eligible recipients, address urgent and challenging issues that threaten the ecological and economic well-being of coastal areas. Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2021: EPA's funding priority is to award assistance agreements that support the 28 National Estuary Programs' (NEPs) efforts to address their estuarine watersheds' priority problems identified in each of the 28 long-term management plans known as Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plans (CCMPs). EPA will provide focused support for NEPs to address priority problems identified by NEP management conferences and to document accomplishments and environmental results. NEP efforts address such problems as: (1) impacts on estuarine water quality and living resources of nutrients, toxics (chemical, heavy metals), pathogen contamination, and sediment attributable to excess loadings and non-point stormwater runoff; e.g., excess nutrient loadings can result in nutrient over-enrichment and hypoxic conditions in estuarine water bodies; (2) habitat loss/degradation; (3) need to assess risks to CCMP implementation due to climate change impacts, to build regional, local, and tribal officials' capacity to address climate change impacts on NEP watersheds, and to promote community resilience; activities that build capacity include conducting vulnerability assessments of communities and local development and implementation of climate adaptation strategies and programs; and 4) need to build the capacity of local public officials and managers in estuarine communities to implement sustainable land use, green infrastructure, and low-impact development best practices. For FY21, EPA also funded through the NEP Coastal Watersheds Grant an intermediary organization to award subawards that support projects that address urgent and challenging issues that threaten the ecological and economic well-being of coastal and estuarine areas.
Type of Assistance
B - Project Grants (Discretionary)
Assistance agreements are issued only to those estuaries designated by the Administrator. The Administrator is authorized to make grants to State, interstate, and regional water pollution control agencies and entities; State coastal zone management agencies; interstate agencies; and other public and private nonprofit agencies, institutions, organizations, and individuals (Section 320(g)(l)). Non-profit organization, as defined by 2 CFR Part 200, means any corporation, trust, association, cooperative or other organization that: (1) is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable or similar purposes in the public interest; (2) is not organized primarily for profit; and (3) uses its net proceeds to maintain, improve and/or expand its operations. Note that the definition of Nonprofit organization in 2 CFR Part 200 specifically excludes Institutions of Higher Education from the definition of non-profit organization because they are separately defined in the regulation. Profit making organizations are not eligible for grants. For certain competitive funding opportunities under this assistance listing, the Agency may limit eligibility to compete to a number or subset of eligible applicants consistent with the Agency's Assistance Agreement Competition Policy.