The Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) is a local non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to researching, protecting and restoring the bays and estuaries of the Texas Coastal Bend.
Its mission is to implement 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 these waterways. The plan identifies specific actions that benefit the bay system and its users.
The program encompasses a 75-mile (120-kilometre) estuarine stretch along the south-central Texas coastline that includes 12 counties within the Coastal Bend, including all bays, estuaries and bayous in the Copano, Aransas, Corpus Christi, Nueces, Baffin and upper Laguna Madre’s bay systems.
The CBBEP is one of 28 areas in the National Estuary Program established by U.S. Congress in 1987. It joined in 1994, and the Bays Plan received state approval in 1999. The program originated as a federal and state planning effort, but local participants sought to take ownership of the program’s implementation, which is why a non-profit organization was created led by a local board of directors.
As 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, the CBBEP encourages individual and organizational involvement. A mix of local governments, industry, state, and federal agencies provide funding. The CBBEP also seeks private grants and additional governmental funding.