The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) is an integrated network of protected sites designed to improve environmental conditions and the health of the nation's estuarine and coastal habitats by developing and providing information that promotes effective resource management. Established by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, the NERRS facilitates the application of sound science to support informed decision-making that addresses current and potential problems of coastal resources resulting from increasing and competing human demands as well as natural stressors. Four priority coastal management issues are targeted by the NERRS program: (1) land use and population growth; (2) habitat loss and alteration; (3) water quality degradation; and (4) changes in biotic communities. This network of protected and coordinated sites represents a federal, state, and community partnership in which research and monitoring, together with a comprehensive program of education and outreach, strengthen understanding, appreciation,...

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