Our History

Our history

Mobile Bay and its Estuary are national and state treasures. Frequently compared to South America’s Amazon region, the area is fed by—the fourth largest river system in the United States—its Delta—the most biologically diverse in the country—is home to more than a thousand species of animals. The health of the Bay and Estuary are deeply interconnected to the health of our community and to our economy. In 1987, Congress established the National Estuary Program (NEP) under a provision of the Clean Water Act. Across the country, individual NEPs are place-based, which means they focus only on restoring and protecting their own estuaries and watersheds.

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.