The Protect and Restore America’s Estuaries Act, a bill reauthorizing and expanding the National Estuary Program (NEP) was signed into law this week. The bill, which passed Congress with bipartisan support, reauthorizes the National Estuary Program through 2026.
The NEP provides grants to 28 states to improve the water quality and ecological integrity of the nation’s most significant estuaries, including the San Francisco Estuary. In the Bay Area, The San Francisco Estuary Partnership — an ABAG program staffed by MTC — is working to increase the health and resiliency of the San Francisco Estuary.
NEPs are non-regulatory and locally driven. They are results-oriented and have proven successful at promoting efficient partnerships.
Among its provisions, the new law:
- Nearly doubles funding for the NEP’s 28 estuaries of national significance
- Ensures that the management plans governing nationally significant estuaries consider the effects of increasing and recurring extreme weather events, and develop and implement appropriate adaptation strategies
- Expands eligibility for NEP grants to organizations working to address storm water runoff, coastal resiliency, and accelerated land loss issues.