Our Plan

Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan: Commiting To Our Future

A partnership of citizens, elected officials, resource managers and commercial and recreational resource users have been hard at work protecting the greater Charlotte Harbor estuarine system from Venice in Sarasota County to Bonita Springs in Lee County to Winter Haven in Polk County. The partners’ 20-year plan, known as the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP), includes diverse resource management concerns such as fish and wildlife habitat loss, water quality degradation, hydrologic alterations (water flow) and stewardship gaps.

Our History

1995: Nomination Accepted

Florida Governor Chiles submitted the nomination to U.S. EPA to designate the greater Charlotte Harbor estuarine system as an estuary of national significance. On July 6, 1995, seven nominations were accepted and became NEPs. One of the seven is now known as the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP). Once selected for inclusion, a decision-making team identifies and prioritizes the problems in the estuary. A plan is developed, approved and then implemented.

2001: Plan First Accepted

The partnership team meets as four committees that together are known as the Management Conference. Local problems are identified, goals established, information collected and special projects are funded with a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). The plan identifies the region’s common priority environmental issues and the actions needed to solve them. When the CCMP was first completed and accepted in 2001, it marked the beginning of action to protect and restore the estuaries and watersheds.


The CHNEP Management Conference decided that every five years the progress made should be assessed and the problems, priorities and actions re-assessed required to further protecting the greater Charlotte Harbor estuarine system. In March 24, 2008 and again on March 18, 2103, the CCMP updates were approved by the CHNEP Management Conference. Easy-to-read summaries of the CHNEP and its plan were developed after each plan was finalized. The CHNEP will continue to update the plan every five years. While the schedule for the next update is not yet determined, we welcome your input. Please send your suggestions by email and check back to learn more about the next update. We encourage you to learn more about this partnership's efforts to protect the estuaries and watersheds by exploring the wealth of information on this website. There are many other ways you can be involved.