What is BTNEP? (bĭt-něp)

The National Estuary Program (NEP) was established by Congress through section 320 of the Clean Water Act in 1987 and is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency. The goal of the National Estuary Program is to prevent activities that:

  • threaten an estuary's public water supply
  • are harmful to shellfish, fish and wildlife populations
  • negatively impact recreational opportunities for estuary residents

Louisiana's Barataria and Terrebonne basins were nominated for participation in the EPA administered National Estuary Program on October 16, 1989. In his nomination letter, the Governor of Louisiana stated, "Louisiana faces a pivotal battle in the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuarine Complex if we are to do our part in winning the national war to stem the net loss of wetlands..."

On September 13, 1990, the EPA and the State of Louisiana committed to a cooperative agreement under the National Estuary Program to form the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program. The program's charter was to develop a coalition of government, private, and commercial interests for the preservation of the Barataria and Terrebonne basins by:

  • identifying problems
  • assessing trends
  • designing pollution control
  • developing resource management strategies
  • recommending corrective actions
  • seeking implementation commitments

A partnership of all the stakeholders of the Barataria-Terrebonne estuarine complex was created including government, business, scientists, conservation organizations, agricultural interests and individuals called the Management Conference.  Over the first 5 years of the program's existence, these stakeholders collaborated and conducted research which culminated in the development of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) that guides BTNEP in the preservation, protection and restoration of the Barataria-Terrebonne estuarine complex.  For more on the CCMP click here: The CCMP.

BTNEP is administered through the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) . The fundamental goals of BTNEP were delineated in 1992 by the Management Conference. These goals provide the basis for all action plans found in the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan. Goals of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program are to:

  • Preserve and restore wetlands and barrier islands
  • Realistically support diverse, natural biological communities
  • Develop and meet water quality standards that adequately protect estuarine resources and human health
  • Promote environmentally responsible economic activities that sustain estuarine resources
  • Generate national recognition and support
  • Implement comprehensive education and awareness programs that enhance public involvement and maintain cultural heritage
  • Create an accessible, comprehensive database with interpreted information for the public
  • Create clear, fair, practical, and enforceable regulations
  • Develop and maintain multi-level, long-term, comprehensive watershed planning
  • Be compatible with natural processes
  • Forge common-ground solutions to estuarine problems
  • Formulate indicators of estuarine ecosystem health and balance estuary use

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