The Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) is a local non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to researching, restoring and protecting the bays and estuaries of the Texas Coastal Bend. This 515 square mile area of water includes all bays, estuaries and bayous in the Copano, Aransas, Corpus Christi, Nueces, Baffin and upper Laguna Madre bay systems. The mission of the CBBEP is the implementation of the Coastal Bend Bays Plan, which is to protect and restore the health and productivity of the bays and estuaries while supporting continued economic growth and public use of the bays. The plan identifies specific actions that will benefit the bay system and the users of the bays.
The coastal bend
The Program area encompasses 75 miles of estuarine environment along the south-central Texas coastline and includes 12 counties of the region known as the Coastal Bend, extending from the land-cut in the Laguna Madre, through the Corpus Christi Bay system, and north to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
a national program
LCBBEP is one of 28 areas in the National Estuary Program, established by U.S. Congress in 1987. CBBEP joined in 1994, and the Bays Plan received state approval in 1999. The Program originally started as a federal and state agency effort during the planning phase. However, participants wanted to localize and take ownership of the Program moving forward into the Bays Plan implementation. Hence, the creation of a non-profit organization led by a local Board of Directors. The CBBEP is a non-regulatory, voluntary partnership effort working with industry, environmental groups, bay users, local governments and resource managers to improve the health of the bay system. Public participation by individuals and organizations is encouraged. A mix of local governments, private industry, state (TCEQ), and federal (USEPA) agencies provide program funding. The Program also seeks private grants and additional governmental funding.