The Estuary Program

The mission and vision of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program is to protect, restore, and preserve Narragansett Bay and its bi-state watershed through partnerships that conserve and restore natural resources, enhance water quality, and promote community involvement and stewardship. This mission and vision can be accomplished by:

  • Promoting a holistic approach to protection of the Narragansett Bay watershed, recognizing its environmental, economic and social significance, and bringing together various constituencies to work together effectively towards a shared vision and mission.
  • Ensuring its program structure and activities reflect the bi-state nature of the watershed.
  • Enhancing collaboration and coordination among agencies and organizations at federal, interstate, state, and local levels.
  • Promoting integration of environmental, economic and social dimensions, agendas and constituencies, and facilitating collaboration towards common goals.
  • Emphasizing ecosystem integrity and sustainability.
  • Working with partners to leverage additional resources and funding for the study area.
  • Leveraging program resources by focusing on support of and technical assistance to partners, (e.g., outreach and educational roles), combined science and restoration projects, and taking the lead role when appropriate and possible.
  • Working with partners to identify information needs, and to acquire, interpret and disseminate data to support informed, science-based decision-making.
  • Working with partners to keep the public and policymakers informed about Bay and watershed conditions and issues.
  • Stimulating discussion on Bay issues and enhancing knowledge and skills to address them through workshops, forums, reports and training.

The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program was launched on July 12, 1985, with a demonstration of federal financial support aboard the Research Vessel Endeavor. This initial federal funding provided researchers with the means to develop over one hundred research and policy studies on a broad array of topics to help protect, preserve, and restore the Narragansett Bay watershed. On March 11, 1988, the Narragansett Bay Estuary was officially declared an “estuary of national significance” by the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program.

Since its inception, the Estuary Program has been guided by a Steering Committee made up of critical partners and stakeholders in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. It is the collaboration and coordination of these partners throughout the Narragansett Bay watershed that continues to guide the priorities of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program.

The National Estuary ProgramThe National Estuary Program is a unique program to protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries of national significance. Currently, 28 estuaries located along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts and in Puerto Rico are designated as estuaries of national significance. The National Esturay Program is a non-regulatory program established by Congress and was authorized by section 320 of the Clean Water Act in 1987. To learn more about the National Estuary Program and the other Estuary Programs in the country, read the brochure or visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

In addition, all 28 Estuary Programs are members of the Association of National Estuary Programs, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of our nation’s bays and estuaries.

Newport Pell Bridge under the full moon
Newport Pell Bridge from Jamestown, RI - Ayla Fox

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