CHNEP: A partnership to protect the natural environment of southwest Florida.

In 1995, Charlotte Harbor was designated an “estuary of national significance,” creating the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP).

Click here

Building partnerships

The CHNEP builds partnerships to develop integrated plans, education and outreach programs and management structures to achieve a sustainable balance between the economy, society and the environment.

Click here

Advocate for the environment

The partnership works as an advocate for the estuarine system by building consensus that is based on sound science.

Click here

Welcome to the CHNEP Management Conference

The Management Conference guides the work of the CHNEP. Each committee serves a specialized role in supporting the program goals and objectives. These meetings are open to the public. Two or more members of the Everglades West and Caloosahatchee Basin Working Groups, Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council and the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves Management Plan Advisory Committee may be in attendance and may discuss matters that could come before the respective body.

The Policy Committee establishes general policies and goals for the Program and executes ultimate authority in program administration.

March 10, 2016 agenda packet (2.5 MG); Tidal Creek Numeric Nutrient Criteria (4.7 MB) read more >>

The Management Committee develops and reviews work plans, funding requests, work products and other activities.

April 29, 2016 agenda packet (4.3 MG); Item 5 CHNEP Restoration Targets (3.3 MB); Florida Estuaries Alliance (walk on item added 4/27) read more >>

The Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) provides a mechanism for citizen input and helps develop and promote public information and education programs.

April 20, 2016 agenda and summaries; Item 3d CHNEP Draft FY17 Workplan; Item 4b CHNEP Restoration Targets (3.3 MB) read more >>

The Plan

In 1995, then Governor Lawton Chiles nominated Charlotte Harbor as an “estuary of national significance.” As a result of this nomination, Charlotte Harbor was accepted into the National Estuary Program, becoming one of 28 other watersheds in the United States so designated. The CHNEP held its kickoff ceremony in September 1996 and began the process of writing a regional Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. Local problems were identified, goals were established, information was collected and special projects were funded. The 20-year Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) identifies the region’s common priority environmental issues and the actions needed to solve them. The CCMP was accepted in 2001, marking the beginning of action to protect and restore the estuary and its watershed. It was updated in 2008 and again in 2013.

We acknowledge and appreciate our partners

Click here

2016 Events

This free workshop is an opportunity for those who work with and are concerned about environmental education to network and learn more about solutions to issues facing the natural environment of southwest Florida.


While it’s true that some people are simply born interpreters, it’s also true that almost anyone can learn enough about interpretive techniques to improve the way they communicate with others. Professional-level certification is a way to document that you possess skills and knowledge that allow you to perform effectively in the interpretive profession.


This free workshop is an opportunity for those who work with and are concerned about conservation lands to network and learn more about solutions to issues facing these lands in southwest Florida. This is the fifth annual conservation lands workshop.


Residents and visitors learn about the natural environment of southwest Florida at this free annual event. Many individuals, organizations and businesses, are dedicated to making this festival exciting and informative. Visit YouTube (CHNEP 1995 channel) to see short videos of the festivals held since 2011.


The CCMP is the product of collaboration on a scale that is hard to comprehend. The result of all these entities working together is a successful continuing improvement of conditions in Florida’s unique estuary, Charlotte Harbor. This is good for tourism, business and the flora and fauna that sustain our economy.

Don McCormick, SWFRPC delegate to the CHNEP Policy Committee