Our Story

20191116 Arlington Park Salt Marsh 768

Arlington Park Salt Marsh

The National Estuary Program is a collaborative, efficient, and adaptable ecosystem-based network of organizations that protects and restores 28 estuaries of national significance. The program, established by Congress through amendments to the Clean Water Act in 1987, has been continuously authorized due to its strong bi-partisan support.

The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program—the NEP for all Coastal Alabama—has been a leader for the restoring and protecting our coastal waters since its establishment in 1995.

Like all NEPs, the MBNEP is non-regulatory and works collaboratively with constituents to protect and restore Alabama’s bays and estuaries for our people, fish, and wildlife.

We don’t tell people what to do. We offer plans and solutions and promote the wise stewardship of our natural resources.

We’re locally run. The MBNEP is a Division of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Alabama's Marine Research and Education Center, and functions under a unique governance structure called a Management Conference. This conference provides community leaders from industry, academia, government, non-profits, grassroots groups, and citizens with a principal voice in the decision-making process.

We’re grounded in science and best practices. The MBNEP supports these community leaders in developing and implementing a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP), a scientific blueprint or long-term plan prescribing specific actions to address water quality and living resource challenges according to the priorities of the Management Conference.

We deliver for our State and our communities. The MBNEP invests in environmental monitoring across our two coastal counties, manages large-scale stream and shoreline restorations, builds the capacity of local governments to continuously improve how we manage our coastal environment, and supports citizens in becoming wise stewards of our coastal quality of life.

On average, the MBNEP leverages over $50 for every $1 of EPA funds it receives by:

  • building strategic alliances
  • demonstrating environmental results
  • providing seed money or staff to initiate and develop new funding sources for CCMP priorities

If you live, work, or play in Coastal Alabama, you have a vested interest in the work of the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program. Learn more about estuaries and the National Estuary Program.

Nep national map

The 28 National Estuary Program Study Areas in estuaries of national significance.