U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Ready Estuaries Program

Created: 3/29/2010 - Updated: 3/02/2020


The Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Ready Estuaries Program works to build capacity in different National Estuary Programs to prepare for and adapt to climate change. Twelve National Estuary Programs received grants and/or technical assistance in 2008 and 2009. The Climate Ready Estuaries Program also created the Coastal Toolkit to provide resources to program managers and other stakeholders in U.S. estuaries.


The Climate Ready Estuaries Program (CRE) was created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2008. CRE provides technical assistance and funding to National Estuary Programs (NEPs) throughout the United States. In addition to direct support, the CRE website also provides resources for managers and other stakeholders, including information on climate change impacts, access to tools and resources, and information to help managers develop adaptation plans, including the Coastal Toolkit. The Toolkit provides links to reports, tools, websites, and other resources on six topics: Adaptation Planning, Coastal Vulnerability and Adaptation Tools, Communications and Outreach Materials, Monitoring Climate Change in Coastal Areas, Smart Growth in the Context of Climate Change, and Sustainable Financing Options.


The CRE Program provides support through grants and technical assistance. Grants are used to provide financial and resource assistance to NEPs, either for new start-up projects or for ones building upon pre-existing work. Technical assistance occurs in the form of tailored support provided by EPA staff and contractors; examples of this kind of support includes climate change vulnerability assessments, habitat modeling, monitoring plan development, and stakeholder engagement and communication. Twelve NEPs received grants or technical assistance in 2008 and 2009. Since the CRE Program was created, the following have received assistance:

  1. Albemarle-Pamlico NEP (North Carolina)
  2. Barnegat Bay NEP (New Jersey)
  3. Casco Bay Estuary Partnership (Maine)
  4. Charlotte Harbor NEP (Florida)
  5. Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program (Texas)
  6. Indian River Lagoon NEP (Florida)
  7. Long Island Sound Study (Connecticut, New York)
  8. Massachusetts Bays Program (Massachusetts)
  9. Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey)
  10. Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (New Hampshire)
  11. San Francisco Estuary Project (California)
  12. Tampa Bay Estuary Program (Florida)

Outcomes and Conclusions

The CRE Program has funded projects to conduct vulnerability assessments (e.g., Barnegat Bay, Casco Bay), develop and implement adaptation plans (e.g., Indian River Lagoon, San Francisco), and increase education and awareness of the public and other stakeholders (e.g., Albemarle-Pamlico, Charlotte Harbor). CRE will continue to solicit and grant funding and technical support to other NEPs.


Information gathered from interviews and online resources. Last updated on 3/29/10.


Gregg, R. M. (2010). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Ready Estuaries Program [Case study on a project of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE: http://www.cakex.org/case-studies/us-environmental-protection-agency’s-climate-ready-estuaries-program (Last updated March 2010)

Project Contact(s)

The Environmental Protection Agency has ten Regional offices, each of which is responsible for the execution of the Agency's programs within several states and territories.


Scale of Project
National / Federal
Sector Addressed
Conservation / Restoration
Development (socioeconomic)
Transportation / Infrastructure
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Culture / communities
Fishery harvest
Habitat extent
Infrastructure damage
Phenological shifts
Range shifts
Salinization / Saltwater intrusion
Sea level rise
Species of concern
Storms or extreme weather events
Water quality
Water supply
Water temperature
Climate Type
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Incorporate future conditions into natural resources planning and policies
Incorporate climate change into critical habitat rules / species recovery plans
Enhance migration corridors and other connectivity measures
Design protected areas or lands to allow inland, altitudinal, or latitudinal movement
Capacity Building
Design or reform institutions
Increase organizational capacity
Coordinate planning and management
Increase / Improve public awareness, education, and outreach efforts
Conduct / Gather additional research, data, and products
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Host adaptation training or planning workshop
Conduct scenario planning exercise
Monitor climate change impacts and adaptation efficacy
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Infrastructure retrofitting and improvements
Stormwater systems: retrofitting and improvements
Create or modify shoreline management measures
Develop disaster preparedness plans and policies
Governance and Policy
Develop / implement adaptation plans
Maintain adequate financial resources for adaptation
Taxonomic Focus
Other Invertebrates
Sociopolitical Setting
Effort Stage
In progress

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