The Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) is one of 28 National Estuary Programs (NEP) across the country that receives EPA funding in order to work toward the restoration and protection of “estuaries of National significance.” The Program is a grassroot, multi-stakeholder collaboration working toward meeting this goal. The Maryland Coastal Bays watershed is an impressive coastal resource; it supports abundant wildlife and a wealth of aquatic resources in a relaxing rural atmosphere unique to the mid-Atlantic region. Here, residents and tourists alike enjoy fishing, hunting, boating, sunbathing, and the natural serenity offered by the sea. As one of the most ecologically diverse regions in the state, the collective watershed of these bays encompasses approximately 175 square miles of Maryland’s coastal plain. It supports numerous rare and threatened plant and animal species, forests, and wetlands vital to migratory songbirds and waterfowl, as well as numerous important commercial and recreational fin and shellfish species.
The Maryland Coastal Bays Foundation is the incorporated portion of MCBP. The corporation is a private, non-profit corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Maryland exclusively for charitable, educational, scientific, and conservation purposes including assisting MCBP in the development and implementation of a Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan for Maryland’s Coastal Bays, conservation and educational activities, and further including—for such purposes—making distributions for the benefit or purposes of the MCBP. The foundation exists to protect and conserve the waters and surrounding watershed of Maryland’s Coastal Bays to enhance their ecological values and sustainable use for both present and future generations.
To accomplish this goal, the Foundation:
- Engages federal, state, and local partners as well as the public in defining the health concerns and conservation needs of the Coastal Bays and their watersheds;
- Implements management strategies defined in the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) in accordance with the Federal Clean Water Act as the Maryland Coastal Bays National Estuary Program;
- Develops and uses factual scientific information to improve the health and sustainable use of the Coastal Bays and their watersheds;
- Promotes responsible stewardship and actions to improve the Coastal Bays and their watersheds through public outreach and education; and
- Conducts fundraising activities to secure public and private grants and donations to support environmental improvements beyond those provided by existing funding sources.