BBP comprises federal, state, and county government agencies, municipalities, academic institutions, businesses, and private organizations that work together to help protect, enhance, and restore the Barnegat Bay ecosystem and its living resources.
In cooperation with the community, the Barnegat Bay Partnership is committed to action to restore, maintain, protect, and enhance the natural resources of the Barnegat Bay estuary and its contributing watershed through the 21st century. The BBP is guided by the following principles:
* Encouraging and motivating residents and visitors to maintain an ethic of responsibility for the bay and the watershed.
* Educating people about the cultural heritage, historic traditions, and natural estuarine resources of the Barnegat Bay watershed.
* Implementing community-based environmental planning for an increased quality of life and economic viability for the region.
* Integrating scientific data to prioritize the focal issues of point and nonpoint sources of pollution, habitat loss/open space, water quality degradation, and the multiple interests in the watershed region.
* Promoting sustainable management of operative efforts of citizens, businesses, local, state, and federal governments and other stakeholders.
* Acknowledging and planning for the rising population and increased uses of ground water and surface water.
* Maintaining recreational and commercial fisheries through a healthy watershed.
The Barnegat Bay Partnership is one of 28 congressionally designated National Estuary Programs throughout the United States working to improve the health of nationally significant estuaries. The National Estuary Program was created in accordance with Section 320 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1330, as amended by P.L. 100-4), which directs the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop plans for attaining or maintaining water quality in an estuary. Approved by the EPA in 2002, the BBP’s Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) identified the priority problems in the watershed and recommended actions to restore and maintain the bay’s ecological integrity. In 2008 the BBP reviewed its CCMP and revised its priorities to reflect changes in the estuary’s condition. The resulting 2008–2011 Strategic Plan identifies five priority issues: