Over half of the U.S. population lives within 100 miles of a coast. Each year, coastal regions experience a rapid growth in population. This phenomenon within estuaries causes a number of problems to occur, which adversely affect water quality, living resources, and overall estuarine ecosystem health. Also, long term effects on an economic and socio-economic level within estuary communities can occur.
The 28 National Estuary Programs (NEP) share information about their successful approaches to environmental challenges with each other and other coastal watershed managers. That exchange is critical to the effective restoration and protection of estuarine health across all the NEPs.