Recognizing the importance of the Mobile Bay Estuary and the threats posed to its health by local growth and development, a team of investigators, led by the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, developed a nomination package for Mobile Bay’s inclusion in the National Estuary Program. Alabama Governor Fob James, Jr. then submitted the nomination package for consideration by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in March, 1995. In September of the same year, EPA Administrator Carol Browner, having concurred with the justification provided within the nomination package, convened a Management Conference, and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) was created.
Administered through and funded by the EPA under provisions of the Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1987, the initial task for the MBNEP was the development of a Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) as a blueprint for conserving the estuary. Through the efforts of literally hundreds of participants and thousands of hours of volunteer time, our CCMP received final approval on April 22, 2002. Since that time, MBNEP has worked diligently to implement this plan and respond to emerging environmental challenges. All of the 28 NEPs recognized across the country under the CWA are similarly guided by their own CCMPs.
The mission of the MBNEP is to promote wise stewardship of the water quality characteristics and living resource base of the Mobile Bay estuarine system. We are a non-regulatory program, so we implement the CCMP by bringing together citizens; local, state, and federal government agencies; businesses and industries; conservation and environmental organizations; and academic institutions to meet the environmental challenges that face the unique and imperiled resources that characterize our coastal estuaries. We engage these groups in determining how to best treat the Bay, our associated coastal waters, and their surrounding watersheds to ensure their protection and conservation for our lifetimes and beyond.