Tampa Bay was designated an “estuary of national significance” by Congress in 1990, laying the foundation for the creation of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) in 1991. Tampa Bay is one of 28 estuaries in the National Estuary Program; others in Florida are Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor & Indian River Lagoon.
TBEP is an intergovernmental partnership of Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco & Pinellas counties; the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg & Clearwater; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD); & the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). These partners have pledged, through a binding Interlocal Agreement, to achieve the science-based goals of Charting the Course: The Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for Tampa Bay. The current version can be viewed in its entirety here: Charting the Course, 2017 revision.
TBEP is governed by a Policy Board of elected officials from our local government members, SWFWMD, EPA & FDEP. A larger Management Board comprised of administrators from local, regional & state government agencies & organizations makes recommendations to the Policy Board.
TBEP’s mission of bay restoration, research & education is supported by several committees, including a Technical Advisory Committee of scientists & managers; a Nitrogen Management Consortium of industries, regulators & expanded city-county members; & a Community Advisory Committee of engaged citizens.