The System also provides a framework through which management approaches, research results, and
techniques for estuarine education and interpretation can be shared and with other programs.
As stated in the implementing regulations, 15 C.F.R. Section 921.1, for the NERRS Program, the
National Estuarine Research Reserve System has the following mission:
the establishment and management, through Federal-state cooperation, of a national system of
estuarine research reserves representative of the various regions and estuarine types in the United
States. National Estuarine Research Reserves are established to provide opportunities for long-term
research, education, and interpretation.
The NERRS was established by the CZMA to help address the problem of current and potential
degradation of coastal resources brought about by increasing and competing demands for these
resources. Prior to establishment of the NERR system, the management of estuarine resources was
inadequate, and scientific understanding of estuarine processes necessary for improving management
was increasing slowly and without national coordination. There were no ready mechanisms to detect
trends in estuarine conditions, or to provide information on these trends, the overall significance
of estuaries, and possible solutions to the growing problems. The NERRS is one part of the solution
for maintaining healthy coastal resources. NERRS research, education, and resource stewardship
programs are tools that can help fill gaps in knowledge, and guide decision-making so that our
estuaries can sustain multiple uses over the long term.
According to NERR regulations at 15 C.F.R. Part 921.1(b) the goals of the program are to:
Ensure a stable environment for research through long-term protection of National Estuarine Research
Address coastal management issues identified as significant through coordinated estuarine research
within the System;
Enhance public awareness and understanding of estuarine areas and provide suitable opportunities
for public education and interpretation;
Promote Federal, state, public and private use of one or more Reserves within the System when such
entities conduct estuarine research; and
Conduct and coordinate estuarine research within the System, gathering and making available
information necessary for improved understanding and management of estuarine areas.
Florida is a strong supporter of the NERRS system and its approach to coastal ecosystem management.
The State of Florida has three designated NERR sites - more than any other state in the nation.