The Congressional Estuary Caucus was established in early 2017 to help educate leaders at all levels of government on the importance of estuaries, and ensure we sustain the robust support for proven programs that work to confront the mutual troubles of U.S. estuaries. 

Estuaries are bodies of water usually found where rivers meet the sea. These singular ecosystems are best characterized by their brackish water – a mixture of fresh water draining from the land and salt tidal water from surrounding areas. Estuaries are home to a diverse set of plants and animals that rely on the delicate balance of salt and fresh water to survive; in addition estuaries serve as vital nursery grounds for many fish and ocean mammal populations.

Individuals across the country rely on estuaries for food, jobs, recreation, and coastal protection. The health of local communities and our nation’s economy is deeply intertwined with the health of our estuaries. More than half of the U.S. population lives in coastal areas, with coastal watershed counties providing an estimated 69 million U.S. jobs and contributing an estimated $7.9 trillion to the GDP annually. 

Estuaries are as important as they are delicate and in recent years many have faced significant challenges, ranging from harmful algal blooms to invasive species, which threaten their survival and the survival of the areas that surround them. For years Congress has worked, in bipartisan fashion, to implement and support initiatives aimed at protecting the many unique estuaries in the United States. Representatives from every corner of this great nation have come together repeatedly to address the problems facing these ecosystems so that they may be enjoyed by future generations.

Congressman Posey offers testimony before the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on the Interior and Environment in support of the National Estuary Program and critical legislative reforms to make additional funding available to distressed estuaries.

Watch the Video

The National Estuary Program (NEP) was authorized by Congress through section 320 of the Clean Water Act in 1987. The purpose of the NEP is to protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries of national significance. Currently, 28 estuaries located along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts and in Puerto Rico are designated as estuaries of national significance. Each NEP focuses within a study area that includes the estuary and surrounding watershed.

Read More about the NEP

Bonamici, Posey Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Address Oc...

House Oceans Caucus Co-Chair Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Estuary Caucus Co-Chair Bill Posey (R-FL) have introduced the bipartisan Coastal and Ocean Acidification Stressors and Threats (C...

House Funds Plan to Make More Estuary Resources Availab...

Today the House of Representatives approved increased funding for local programs that benefit our nation’s estuaries, including the Indian River Lagoon. Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge), together ...

Estuary Caucus Holds Briefing on Harmful Algal Blooms

On April 12th the Congressional Estuary Caucus held a briefing for congressional staff to discuss the harmful effects of algal blooms in our nation's estuaries. The caucus, which was co-founded by U.S...

View More News
2018 National Estuaries Expo – 2nd Annual Hill Estuary Week September 15-22 The 2018 National Estuaries Week Expo will explain the critical importance of estuaries to our economy and our coastal communities. A number of the federal agencies that support conservation and resto...
Coastal Resiliency and Preparedness The Co-Chairs of the Congressional Estuary Caucus, Representatives Bill Posey, Suzanne Bonamici, Frank LoBiondo, and Rick Larsen, invite you to a luncheon briefing to hear several examples of ongoing ...
Florida Institute of Technology Presents its Latest Estuary Research: A Case Study of the Indian River Lagoon System in Florida This briefing is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. The Eighth District of Florida is home to the Indian River Lagoon, one of the most diverse estuaries...
Florida’s Harmful Algal Blooms: 2018 Overview and Federal Response This briefing will focus on harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the State of Florida. Florida has more toxic HABs than any other state, from red and brown tides on the coasts to cyanobacteria in lakes. As ...
Puget Sound: A Case Study of Innovation and Partnerships for Estuary Restoration This briefing is being hosted by the Congressional Estuary Caucus, the Senate Oceans Caucus, and the Coastal Communities Caucus. This special briefing will feature a case study about estuary restorati...
View More Events